Anko, sweet red bean paste, is used in many confectioneies in Japan. It is usually prepared by boiling and sometimes mashing azuki beans and then sweetening the paste with sugar. The most common types of read bean paste include Tsubuan and Koshian.
Tsubuan is prepared by boiling and sweetening with sugar. Koshian is prepared by passing through a sieve to remove bean skins, and this is most commonly used for wagawashi (traditional Japanese confectionery).
Other varieties of anko includes Shiroan, made from Japanese white beans and Kurian made from chestnuts.
- 200g (7 oz, a little bit less than 1 cup which is 220g) Azuki beans (Today I used Hokkaido Dainagon Azuki Beans (bigger than regular azuki))
- 200g (7 oz, 1 cup) granulated white sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Soak the azuki beans over night.
- Rinse azuki beans.
- Use a big saucepan/pot because the amount of azuki beans will double after cooking. Put washed azuki beans in the pot and pour water till 1-2 inch above azuki beans. Turn the heat on high.
- When boiling, turn off the heat and cover with lid. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
- Throw away water and put the azuki beans into a sieve.
- Put the azuki beans back in the pot. Add enough water just to cover the beans and turn the heat on high. Once boiling, turn down the heat to medium low and keep it simmering.
- Once in a while push the azuki beans under the water with slotted spoon. Water will evaporate so you need to keep adding water to cover just above the beans. If you put too much water, the beans will move and break. If you need to leave the kitchen, make sure to turn off the heat. You will be cooking for 1+ hour.
- Pick one azuki bean and squeeze it with your fingers. If it is smushed easily, it’s done.
- Turn up the heat to high and add sugar in 3 separate times. Stir constantly. When you draw a line on the bottom of the saucepan and see the surface for more than 2 seconds, add salt and turn off heat. Anko will thicken more when it cools.
- Pour into a container to cool down. Do not leave it in the pot. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge to store after cool down. If you aren't planning to use it all at once, you can divide it into 100g packages. Wrap in plastic bag and store in Ziploc Freezer bags and can store in fridge for a week and freezer up to a month.
Recipes with Sweet Red Bean Paste