Generally, traditional Japanese sweets are made with paste of sweet beans; white beans, green beans and red beans, all of which are called “An (餡)”or !Anko (餡子)) in Japanese, derived from the word meaning “filling”. In particular, the red bean called Azuki (小豆) is so popular that people usually refer to the Azuki paste as An. Recently, pumpkin or sweet potatoes are also used for “An” as well as beans, however, the Azuki paste is by far still the most popular.
How to make azuki bean paste.
Put red beans in a pot with 2-3 cups of water. Let boil for 5 minutes and discard water.
In a clean pot, place red beans and 2-3 cups of water, cover, and let it simmer at low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (add more water as needed). The beans should now be very soft, easily crushed between fingers.
Discard water again, put soft beans back in the pot with sugar at medium high heat and constantly stir and mix about 10 minutes until forming a paste that looks shiny but still loose. Immediately transfer the paste to a container.
Difference between Koshian and Tsubuan
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).
Delicious Anko sweets and desserts!!
Dorayaki (どら焼き, どらやき, 銅鑼焼き, ドラ焼き?) is a type of Japanese confection, а red bean pancake which consists of two small pancake-like patties made from castella wrapped around a filling of sweet Azuki red bean paste.
Dorayaki with chestnut
Daifukumochi (大福餅?), or Daifuku (大福?) (literally “great luck”), is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi (glutinous rice cake) stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans.
The mochi can be filled with Koshian or Tsubuan
Daifuku with strawberry
Oshiruko (red bean soup)
Red bean soup refers to various traditional Asian soups made with azuki beans.
Shiruko (汁粉?), or oshiruko (お汁粉?) with the honorific “o” (お), is a traditional Japanese dessert. It is a sweet porridge of azuki beans boiled and crushed, served in a bowl with mochi. There are different styles of shiruko, such as shiruko with chestnuts, or with glutinous rice flour dumplings instead of mochi.
Taiyaki (鯛焼き , literally “baked sea bream”?) is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. The most common filling is red bean paste that is made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings may be custard, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato.
Contrary to the normal taiyaki, the croissant taiyaki is super crispy!!
It is also filled with red bean paste.
Anpan (あんパン?) is a Japanese sweet roll most commonly filled with red bean paste. Anpan can also be prepared with other fillings, including white beans (shiro-an), sesame (goma-an) and chestnut (kuri-an).
Anmitsu (あんみつ, rarely 餡蜜?) is a Japanese dessert that has been popular for many decades.
It is made of small cubes of agar jelly, a white translucent jelly made from red algae or seaweed. The agar is dissolved with water (or fruit juice such as apple juice) to make the jelly. It is served in a bowl with sweet azuki bean paste or anko (the an part of anmitsu), boiled peas, often gyūhi and a variety of fruits such as peach slices, mikan, pieces of pineapples, and cherries.
Dango (団子?) is a Japanese dumpling and sweet made from mochiko (rice flour), related to mochi.