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Anko


torakris
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in another thread meguroman says:

Anko, while delicious in it's own right, is pure contemptiousness to the first time visitor to Japan, looking at what he thinks is a plastic model of a chocolate sundae, only to get soft-serve, covered with chunky reddish-brown stuff. Beans and ice cream do not mix. If they did, Ben and Jerry would be doing Red Beanie-Meanie Ice Cream. They are not.

I almost agree :blink:

I would not touch anko for about 2 years after I came to Japan, the idea of sweet beans really bothered me and to make it even worse it looks similar to choccolate (from a distance) and it is used in ways that we would use chocolate.

I have to admit I love it now sometimes a bowl of shiruko really hits the spot, warm in the winter cold in the summer. For those unfamilar shuruko is a soupy like dish of either smooth or chunky azuki beans very heavily sweetened with "dumplings" made of rice flour.

What are your feelings about anko?

any horrifying experiences?

favorite uses?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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About 20 years ago I got obsessed with making the ultimate koshi-an (why was that, I wonder now??). I went and bought a horsehair sieve because that was the recommended type for sieving your mashed beans. The theory is that a metal sieve is too sharp, and the skins which should be largely excluded from the finished anko end up getting finely minced and added to the an. This is why, sadly, a food processor doesn't help when making koshi-an.

But then I discovered...most people actually prefer tsubu-an anyway. This annoyed the heck out of me, since I had reached the stage where I could make a pretty good koshi-an, but sure enough, these days I make mostly koshi-an and shiruko.

My husband grew up around the Tokachi area of Hokkaido, famed for its azuki beans, and even now is happy to eat as much shiru-ko as I can bring myself to make. I like to cook the beans with a little konbu in the cooking liquid, and I also like strips of salty preserved konbu sprinkled on top, but he likes it served straight up, with plenty of grilled mochi in it.

We also disagree on tsubu-an -- I like it with awa-mochi (which is basically just a thick millet porridge with a good dollop of stiff tsubu-an). He likes tsubu-an in dorayaki, mikasa-yama, etc.

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I like anko, but not when it's used too liberally or is too sweet.

I always thought I prefered tsubu-an but last year tried a sweet (can't remember what) that my student made with koshi-an. It was fantastic- not cloyingly sweet and a lovely velvety texture. But I guess this is only possible with really good home-made stuff because I've hated all the koshi-an I've tried since.

And I love ice cream or kaki-gori with anko!

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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Mmmmm I love sweet bean stuff, whether things like Japanese aduki bean ice cream, or Chinese red bean filled pastries, or shaved ices topped with sweet red beans. It's something about the texture and taste being sweet accompanied by a meaty satisfaction from chewing it all at the same time.

Pat

"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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Did you call me? :biggrin: Obviously from the egullet name, I love ANKO very mush. Anything anko in mochi, I love them!

I used to hate Tsubu An because I didn't enjoy the texture of the bean skin. And also, I couldn't eat Yokan because it is so Black and an appetizing. (Chocolate is different, though.) Now, I like both Tsubu An and Koshi An equally. However, I still am not too crazy about Oshiruko, Zenzai, Anmitsu, Ogura Ice, and Ogura Kakigoori. That bean skin still bothers me a little.

Have you ever heard of Shio An? It's salty anko. When I was small, I remember eating Shio An Manju, and it was so disgusting. :wacko:

Check out the latest meal!

Itadakimasu

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If you don't care for anko, Kristin, something tells me you won't like the Chinese version of anko soup:

red beans

rock sugar

ginger

water

Take a piece of rock sugar and dissolve it in a pot of boiling water. Reduce to a simmer, add red beans and a 2" piece of (peeled) ginger. Cook, partially covered for up to an hour and a half or until beans are tender and the water is tinged with a slightly reddish color. Let cool slightly and serve in small bowls as a tonic or as a dessert soup. :biggrin:

Soba

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My wife and I sometimes make anko at home. We like it. Types of anko available at stores contain way too much sugar. Some brands contain sweeters other than sugar, and taste really awful. We propably use half the amount of sugar an ordinary recipe says.

So, I presume that, determined azuki bean haters excepted, most of you are just high-sugar-content anko haters. Why not make no-sugar or low-sugar anko once in a while?

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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Why not make no-sugar or low-sugar anko

I second that!

Last time I made anko, I used a little good-quality mirin to replace some of the sugar, and yes, I agree that half the normal amount of sugar is plenty. Use up quickly, of course...

rock sugar

You mean that pale yellow rock sugar?? Not like the crystal clear Japanese version? I haven't seen the Chinese type since I worked in a Chinese grocery...er....nearly 30 years ago!

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So, I presume that, determined azuki bean haters excepted, most of you are just high-sugar-content anko haters.

Yes! That's definately true.

The owner of one of the schools where I teach is an excellent cook and makes the best wagashi, with very lightly sweetened anko. And ever since my students witnessed me enjoying one of her treats they've been convined I'm a big-time anko lover! So they often bring sweets full of anko as gifts or to share after lessons. I don't have the heart to tell them I hate their sickly sweet souviners, so I just bite the bullet and gulp them down.

The worst is when someone comes back from a trip out west with a big box of Aka-fuku mochi...

Edited by smallworld (log)

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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  • 2 months later...

koshi-an vs. tsubu-an

I prefer tsubu-an, which retains azuki skins. I had a vague idea that more Japanese preferred tsubu-an like me, until I found this site:

http://weekend.nikkei.co.jp/kiko/map/tsubukoshi/map.html

Click the Kanto area, for example, and another map appears.

http://weekend.nikkei.co.jp/kiko/map/tsubukoshi/kanto.html

Click Tokyo, for example, and a circle graph appears, showing the percentage of people living in Tokyo who prefer koshi-an こしあん, that of those who prefer tsubu-an 粒あん, and that of those who like both.

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  • 2 years later...

I was surprised to see that this is what an azuki plant looks like! I guess that making the connection between the sweet stuff smeared onto dango and stuffed into daifuku or dorayaki and a plant is hard for me to make... :cool:

gallery_31440_3297_91304.jpg

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Nice thread this one

I have bought at the local Japanese grocer a kind of sweet bean bar wrapped in plastic packaging. I wonder what category it would fit in since no bean skins at all and I like it very much. Back in the old country we have plenty of similar products though not made with beans.

BTW are there any recipes with azukii beans?

thanks

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Nice thread this one

I have bought at the local Japanese grocer a kind of sweet bean bar wrapped in plastic packaging. I wonder what category it would fit in since no bean skins at all and I like it very much. Back in the old country we have plenty of similar products though not made with beans.

BTW are there any recipes with azukii beans?

thanks

Is it jelly-like? It sounds like you might have yokan - its made with adzuki bean jam and kanten, a gelatin that comes from sea weed.

There are a lot of sweets both in Japanese and Chinese cooking that use these versatile beans; are you looking for a recipe for this yokan? Or any sweets using these versatile beans? "tsukimi" is coming up next week (moon viewing celebrations) so you might be able to find quite a few examples of adzuki sweets such as the Chinese mooncake (pastry wrapped around bean jam and chestnut or preserved egg yolk) or the Japanese tsukimi dango (rice cake sometimes wrapped with bean paste and toasted soybean flour). Both are quite delicious :smile:

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the sweetened red bean didn't scare me because I grew up with it. My favorite way to have it is in some homemade mochi. My mother used to make it for me all the time when I was young, but now I have to buy it. It also tastes great in popsicle form or mixed with vanilla ice cream surrounded by a fish shaped wafer. In the winter time, its good to have it stuffed insided a fish "pancake".

That is popular in Korea and I understand they do the same or something similar in japan.

I hate getting the bean skins stuck in my teeth. they remind me of popcorn kernals

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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  • 1 month later...

I discovered my first Asian Grocers at age 20 in Norristown, Pa...

I bought Botan rice candy, blocks of mochi, and canned Mitsumame.

I love Mitsumame. I can get two brands at Assi Plaza or H-Mart now, but miss

the brand I originally bought and ate, can anyone help?

It had a plastic cap over the can and under the plastic cap was two packets of

syrups. One was clear syrup and the other was a red bean syrup.

Anyone have a clue which brand has those characteristics?

Are there any other varieties of Mitsumame other then the usual?

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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I discovered my first Asian Grocers at age 20 in Norristown, Pa...

I bought Botan rice candy, blocks of mochi, and canned Mitsumame.

I love Mitsumame. I can get two brands at Assi Plaza or H-Mart now, but miss

the brand I originally bought and ate, can anyone help?

It had a plastic cap over the can and under the plastic cap was two packets of

syrups. One was clear syrup and the other was a red bean syrup.

Anyone have a clue which brand has those characteristics?

Are there any other varieties of Mitsumame other then the usual?

Are you sure that the other one was a red bean syrup, not red bean jam (an or anko in Japanese)?

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I discovered my first Asian Grocers at age 20 in Norristown, Pa...

I bought Botan rice candy, blocks of mochi, and canned Mitsumame.

I love Mitsumame. I can get two brands at Assi Plaza or H-Mart now, but miss

the brand I originally bought and ate, can anyone help?

It had a plastic cap over the can and under the plastic cap was two packets of

syrups. One was clear syrup and the other was a red bean syrup.

Anyone have a clue which brand has those characteristics?

Are there any other varieties of Mitsumame other then the usual?

Are you sure that the other one was a red bean syrup, not red bean jam (an or anko in Japanese)?

No. I just ate an anpan and it was not anko like the anpan but a syrupy redbean syrup with very well cooked beans floating in it (about 4 beans)

(actually I just had 2 anpans! :cool: )

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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You probably mean red peas, like these (first photo).

I vaguely thought that the type of mitsumame you described was available from Eitaro (one of the biggest wagashi manufacturers in Japan), but it seems that I was wrong.

So, I must ask you one again: Was it a Japanese product?

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You probably mean red peas, like these (first photo).

I vaguely thought that the type of mitsumame you described was available from Eitaro (one of the biggest wagashi manufacturers in Japan), but it seems that I was wrong.

So, I must ask you one again:  Was it a Japanese product?

Yes, it was Japanese.

I held on to the clear syrup packet for years until it started turning orange and I tossed it.

It was the best quality Fruits Mitsumame I ever had in the can.

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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  • 11 months later...

I bought this cup at the asian grocery store and I bought it cause it has 2 things that I like: mochi and red beans. How do I cook it? Do I stick it in the microwave or what? I have a few pics (one is backwards, I'll try to reverse it).

hopefully someone can read it and try to help me out (: thanks

They're backwards. I don't know how to reverse them....oopsy sorry

gallery_44829_5287_45349.jpg

gallery_44829_5287_76273.jpg

Edited by SheenaGreena (log)
BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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I bought this cup at the asian grocery store and I bought it cause it has 2 things that I like:  mochi and red beans.  How do I cook it?  Do I stick it in the microwave or what?  I have a few pics (one is backwards, I'll try to reverse it).

hopefully someone can read it and try to help me out (: thanks

They're backwards.  I don't know how to reverse them....oopsy sorry

gallery_44829_5287_45349.jpg

gallery_44829_5287_76273.jpg

Some of the letters of the instructions are illegible, so I'm not 100% sure of the proper instructions. Anyway, here's how.

1. Put the an (red bean paste) in the cup, take out mochi from the packets??, and put them on top of an.

2. Don't put the lid on the cup, put the cup in a microwave, and heat according to the table below.

500 W: approx. 2 min.

600 W: approx. 1 min. 40 seconds

1000 W: approx. 1 min.

1500 W: approx. 40 seconds

The product's name is "Tsubu an oshiruko". It says it contains two pieces of mochi.

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