Oshiruko: Sweet Azuki Red Bean Soup with Mochi
When it comes to winter dishes traditionally eaten in Japan, what comes to my mind first is soup dishes with “Mochi (餅)” rice cakes. Among those, what I introduce here “Oshiruko (お汁粉)” is a quintessential dish consisting of baked or steamed Mochi rice cakes in sweet Azuki red bean soup.
Oshiruko, also simply called “Shiruko (汁粉)”, is a soup dish typically eaten for the New Year in Japan. The traditional Japanese round rice cake that is offered to Gods on New Year’s day, “Kagami Mochi (鏡餅)” is used to make Oshiruko after the New Year’s holiday ends.
As I mentioned above, the main ingredient in the Oshiruko soup is sweetened Azuki red bean paste called “Anko (あんこ)“, and the basic recipe for Oshiruko is quite simple and easy as I talked about it before.
Oshiruko vs Zenzai
Actually, in addition to Oshiruko, in Japan, there is one more winter soup dish that is made with Anko red bean paste, which looks very similar to Oshiruko, called “Zenzai (ぜんざい)”. By the way, regarding the difference between the 2 red bean soups Oshiruko and Zenzai, this article will help.
Oshiruko is a traditional soup dish with a long history. In fact, it is said that Oshiruko has its roots in the ancient Azuki red bean soup called “Susuri Dango (すすり団子)”, which is mentioned in the book published in 1635 “Ryori Monogatari (料理物語)”.
Where to Eat
Oshiruko with Oshinko
In Japan, Oshiruko is not only made in each household, but the sweet red bean soup can also be enjoyed in Japanese-style cafes, teahouses, and the like, during the winter season, where Oshiruko is often served with salty foods, such as “Oshinko (お新香)” pickled vegetables or “Shio Konbu (塩昆布)” salted kelp, to accentuate the sweetness of the red bean soup.
During the cold winter months, Oshiruko is sold in various forms, as a canned drink or in instant varieties. Canned Oshiruko is available from vending machines scattered around the city, while nowadays Japanese instant Oshiruko soup can be bought even on online shopping sites outside of Japan.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 汁粉 )