Tag: Red bean paste

What is Japanese red bean paste, Anko? Types and how to eat at home

What is Japanese red bean paste, Anko? Types and how to eat at home

If you have tried Japanese traditional sweets, for sure your have heard of Anko, Japanese red bean paste. Anko is core ingredient in many traditional Japanese sweets.

Let’s learn few interesting facts about Anko!(p゚∀゚q)


What is Japanese red bean paste?

Japanese red bean paste, Anko (餡子), in most cases, is a food made by boiling beans such as adzuki beans, adding sugar, and kneading. It is used in many Japanese traditional sweets, Wagashi, as a filling or a topping. Also it sometimes referred to as Japanese jam.

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!


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The history of Anko

The “an” in “Anko” originally meant “filling of a food” in Chinese. It is believed to be introduced to Japan in the 14th century, when manju buns filled with “an” arrived in Japan from China.

Instead of the sweet adzuki beans used for today’s Anko, the “an” in those manju buns contained meat. Japanese monks could not eat meat, so they replaced meat with adzuki beans and ate it that way. Later, sugar arrived in Japan through trade with foreign countries, and the modern practice of boiling adzuki beans with sugar to make Anko was born.

Anko is truly vegan!


Types of Anko: Tsubuan, Koshian, Shiroan

There are 3 major types of Anko, Tsubuan, Koshian and Shiroan.

Tsubuan is anko made without using a strainer or anything that would break the skin of the adzuki beans, so that the shape of the beans remains intact. Koshian is Anko where the adzuki beans are crushed and strained through, for example a cloth, to remove the skins, giving it a smooth taste. Shiroan is Anko made with cannellini beans instead of adzuki beans. It has a creamy, gentle flavor, and even people who don’t like Anko with adzuki beans will enjoy it.

There are also varieties of Anko using beans other than adzuki or cannellini beans, such as edamame beans. So please try as many Anko as possible and find your favorite one!


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How to eat Anko at home

If you like Anko, I recommend you to try “Anko toast”. First, spread butter on a toast, and put some Anko on the toast. This is surely not a traditional way to eat Anko but the richness from butter and sweetness from Anko go well together. Please give it a shot!


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Also, you can spread Anko on crackers just like you eat regular jam. Of course, if you want to try Japanese traditional ways, you can cover some Anko with Mochi(this will turn into delicious Japanese sweet called Daifuku)!

Related post: what is daifuku? perfect combination of mochi and red bean jam (anko)


Anko is unique and delicious ingredient for sweets. Please try it if you are interested!ヾ(*´∀`*)ノ

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)