Yoshizen's Blog

Cooking Adzuki-beans and Make Oshiruko お汁粉

The culture of growing and eating beans in Japan was originated from China, such as

Soya-bean and its derivatives/ Soy-source, Soyabean-paste, include Aduki-beans.

Unlike western and some African cultures, eastern people doesn’t eat beans as their staple food and most

of the case, cook them as a kind of sweets or its basis.

(Inside of famous Chinese Moon Cake, you can see the heavy Adzuki-bean paste mixed with Walnut and the oil

which makes it even heavier or richer = to celebrate, the taste richer the better for them to feel rich  :-D)


Many years ago, at the party held by Thai students, I cooked (supposedly) Japanese Sweet Dish of Oshiruko,

then Thais pointed out “Hey Yoshi, this is not Japanese, it’s our cooking”.

So that, when I visited their country I realized that almost identical cooking called in Chinese name,

Hon Tao Shui (紅豆水) was served every tea house, even a street corner which the Red-bean or Adzuki-beans

was cooked and made sweet soup with Rice-powder dumplings in (and often, some  ice-cube as well = which

we call [Koori-Adzuki] in Japan) And I noticed, the situation is the same wherever the Chinese people lives.

I guess, a lots of western people encountered a Japanese sweet [Yokan], Adzuki-bean Cake with rather revolting

feelings “Yack, What’s this”(since, westerners never expected to eat the bean other than in a savory taste =

same situation of easterners tasted a Green Tea or the Rice with added sugar) 😀

Not necessary in China, but in Japan, adzuki-bean is regarded to be an auspicious food, because of its

red color, especially when it was cooked with a combination of white, such as rice or rice-cake.

Hence, any festive occasions, Japanese cook [Sekihan]赤飯 (Red-colored rice = Glutinous rice with

Adzuki-beans) and [Oshiruko] = (Rice-cake in Adzuki-bean soup) simply because its got red and white  🙂


Because of this, Japanese adzuki-bean got festive value.   It’s carry 3x more price, but pretty high quality.

—– though,  bean is the bean, it is more or less the same as ubiquitous Cowpeas  (top photo).

To make [Sekihan] it’s better to use Japanese bean but,  make Oshiruko can be done with poor-man’s choice.

To make Oshiruko for 4~5 people use 1.5 cup of bean and put it into 7” big pan, start with 2 cups of water

to boil. (Only a shortcoming to use cheap bean is, they got many stones and insect infested bean = you need to

sort them out, before start cooking)

And when the pan started to boil, drain the water and flush the bean with fresh water to clean it.  🙂

Then real cooking start with 4 cups of water. —–> While boiling, the water will disappear.

So, you have to put more water. ( You need to top-up the water 3~4 times and the bean increase the bulk 3 times

or more = till here you may need to boil 3~4 hours ! —– or, if you have slow-cooker it might be a better choice

for an overnight cooking)

When the bean was cooked and became soft, then put plenty brown sugar (rather annoying amount of almost 1kg !

—– this is what sweet meant   😀 )

Then, put 1/3 teaspoon of salt = never put too much,  and leave the pan to quietly boil another 1 hour.

And put Rice cake to boil yet another 2~5 minutes. (Rice Cake made out of Glutinous Rice powder in my-way

should be OK to boil longer but, a Japanese Rice Cake [Kiri-Mochi] 切り餅 which was made of  mixture of regular

rice powder, would be melt and disintegrates)

Then Oshiruko is ready to serve.


—– I don’t think you have eaten up all the sweet Adzuki soup yet (may be another 5 portions still left) =

boil further to reduce it become sticky paste = it became to [Anko] and can be used to make many

other Japanese sweets, such as [An-Mochi], [Mizu-Yokan]

—– put this [Anko] onto a piece of bread ! = it’s not too bad.   😀

Heavy [Anko-paste] can last a week in a fridge, or it can be frozen for next time, if not till next New Year.  😀

—– So, I’ll put another post to make those [An-Mochi], [Mizu-Yokan] etc. near future.

Enjoy your sweet teeth 😀

2 Responses

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  1. […] post on January [ Cooking  Oshiruko ] ( the Link here) of which the boiled down Red Bean […]

  2. […] to cook Adzuki-bean and make Anko is a long laborious […]

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