Anko / Sweet Red Bean Paste [Recipes Sweets スウィーツレシピ]


Red beans are indespensable ingredient for Japanese sweets making. 

I would say most of the traditional sweets are made from red beans.

Domyoji Sakuramochi 2017Apr27 750x.jpg
"Sakuramochi/Cherry blossom cake " 's filling is red bean paste.



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"Anmitsu"/Japanese fruit punch " always goes with red beans.

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Ichigo Daifuku

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Yomogidango / Mugwort rice dumpling

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Mizuyohkan / Agar Agar Jelly

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Maccha Purin / Green Tea Pudding

We can buy the ready made one from the supermarkets any time.

But it is often too sweet, and the taste of red beans are often camouflaged by the over usage of refined sugar. 

It is always much nicer to make it ourselves.

So today I'm going to share my method of making sweet red beans with you today.  

Tsubuan / Sweet Chunky Red Bean Paste

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Ingredients (to yield about 700g sweet red beans)

200ml adzuki / red beans

200ml unrefined sugar

1/2 tsp salt


  • 1. Wash and soak adzuki / red beans in water for 4 to 8 hours.

  • 2. Drain, and transfer the red beans into a pot.  Add enough water to cover the red beans.  Heat up the pot, bring to a boil, add a cup of cold water when it started boiling, and drain.

  • 3. Put back the red beans into the pot and fill with cold water.  Bring to a boil again, add a cup of water when it started boiling.  Repeat this procedure one more time. 

  • 4. Reduce the heat to low when started boiling the third time.  Simmer for about one hour till soft.  Skim off the foam on the surface when it appears.  Add cold water time to time while simmering.  This is not to expose the red beans in the air.

  • 5. When the beans are soft, add unrefined sugar, and simmer for 10~15 minutes.   Let it cool down completely or put it aside for 8 hours.

  • 6. After cooling down, simmer again until you get desired texture.  Once the sugar is added, beans can easily get burned.  Therefore stir on and off.  When the beans are getting thicker, stir constantly.

  • 7. Add salt at the end and mix.  Let it cool down.  Tsubuan/sweet chunky red beans is ready.  If you want to make this into smooth paste, blend it in the blender.

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*Just a pinch of salt makes the sweet red beans much sweeter, therefore never forget to add salt at the end.  ( If you found it is too sweet when you added salt, just reduce the amount of sugar next time.)

*I found Japanese red beans are softer and tastier compared with the organic chinese ones.   Some red beans require much longer time to cook. 

*I usually use beet sugar from Hokkaido, as it is more yang and suitable for Japanese weather.   But it is advisable you make sure that it is non GMO if you use beet sugar from the other countries.   Avoid the one from US as the country does not require the labelling of GMO and most of the beets there are GMO.

*If you do not want to use sugar,  you can replace it with other sweeteners such as dates and rice syrup.  In that case, adjust the amount to your taste.  

Happy Cooking !


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