Anko, or sweet red bean paste, is a very common ingredient in Japanese desserts – it’s a much more common ingredient than chocolate. Anko is made from little red adzuki beans, and as we’ll see in the recipe below, it’s pretty simple to prepare. Anko may be smooth (Koshian) or more textured (Tsubuan). While both are delicious, the textured version is easier to prepare, so that’s what we’re making today!
This recipe makes a fairly large quantity, which is perfect for freezing. We’ll use Tsubuan Anko in several future recipes, so be sure to save a bit in an airtight container in your freezer. Let’s get started!
2 1/4 cups dried adzuki beans (this equates to a 16 ounce bag)
2 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt
Step 1) Soak adzuki beans in a large pot of warm water (not boiling water!), covered, for one hour. Drain.
Step 2) Add fresh water to the pot so that the adzuki beans are covered with 2 inches of water. Bring just to a boil, then stir in baking soda and salt.
Step 3) Immediately reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 1/4 hours or until beans are soft (cooking time may be longer). Make sure that the beans stay covered with water! If the water level skims the top of the beans or drops below the level of the beans, add more water, 1/2 cup at a time.
Step 5) Allow Tsubuan Anko to cool on the stovetop before transferring to an airtight container for refrigeration or freezing. Tsubuan Anko will thicken as it cools.