This post is dedicated to sweet red bean paste, or anko as it’s known in Japanese. This glorious substance is a component in many traditional Japanese desserts and yes, you can make it at home. Anko comes in two main varieties: coarse tsubuan and smooth koshian. I have always preferred koshian, but have only recently attempted to make it from scratch. I must warn you, it did take a whole morning. If you want to hear that story, read on. Alternatively, jump to the end for the sweet red bean paste recipe in brief!
The nights are drawing in, and since September my menus have been gradually changing to counteract the chillier weather. More and more, I’ve been turning to those knobbly, underground, secretive vegetables – the ones we always abandon around April and rediscover towards Christmas. This time around, I’m also unearthing the meanings behind homely Japanese dishes such as shigure-ni and takikomi-gohan. Also featured in this post is a sweet treat I brought back from Japan to share with you – but don’t worry, it still fits with the root vegetable theme!
- butaniku to yasai no shigure-ni / pork belly and root vegetable stew
- takikomi-gohan / variety rice
- miso soup with aubergines and chives – previously featured here
- radish misozuke – previously featured here
- kimpira parsnip / soy-simmered parsnip
- BONUS SHOW & TELL: murasaki-imo yōkan / sweet potato jelly
As always, read on for more details and cooking tips.