Anko, a sweet red bean paste is widely used in Japanese cuisine. Presentation:
- Anko, Japan’s favorite topping
- The different types of anko
- The recipe for anko
- Anko in Japanese cuisine
Anko, Japan’s favorite filling
Anko 餡子 also known as an 餡 is a sweetened red azuki bean paste アズキ that is found in most Japanese desserts like the dorayaki or the taiyaki. It is a paste that is close to chestnut cream in taste and is a favorite of Japanese people. The anko is made with azuki beans, sugar or honey. The pod is sometimes removed, then the anko is boiled, crushed and sweetened. The anko paste is quite thick.
You should not confuse ” anko ” which is sweet azuki bean paste. And the term ” azuki ” which means bean. There is also white anko, which is made with white beans.
The different types of anko
There are several types of anko according to the fineness of grinding of azuki :
- Tsubuan 粒餡: Azuki beans are boiled with sugar without any post processing.
- Tsubushian 潰し餡: Crushed tsubuan.
- Koshian 漉し餡: Tsubushian with the pods removed.
- Sarashian 晒し餡: Koshian that has been desiccated and then rehydrated
If you want to make Japanese desserts, for filling them koshian is the most suitable and common. To sprinkle on ice cream kakigori for example, tsubuan is more appropriate because azuki beans are not crushed.
The recipe of anko
As we have seen above, anko is easy to make. You need :
- Azuki beans or if you can’t find any, red beans by default
- Sugar or honey
You can find our recipe for anko in this article :
Azuki beans can be found in organic stores and sometimes in supermarkets. Otherwise you can also find them ready to eat in Asian grocery stores or on the internet.
Anko in Japanese cuisine
Anpan, bun filled with anko
Small Japanese pastry made of fairly hard jelly.
Shiruko or zenzai
A traditional dessert of anko soup with plain or toasted mochi
Small Japanese autumnal pastry.
A triangular cake specializing in Kyoto
As you can see anko is used in many Japanese desserts which we will not mention all of them here but it remains a great classic in Japanese desserts.