Anko: 9 Common Types of Sweet Bean Paste for Wagashi
“Anko (餡子)” is an indispensable part of “Wagashi (和菓子)” traditional Japanese confections.
It is a sweet paste or jam typically made by boiling beans in water, sweetened with sugar and kneaded. As you may know, the bean variety most commonly used to make Anko paste is Azuki red beans.
Along with the Japanese food boom, I think the sweet bean paste has been increasingly gaining recognition even outside of Japan. However, when it comes to the type, it still isn’t well known.
There are many variations of Anko paste in Japan, which actually can be classified into several types based on the production method and the ingredient. For those who know little about Anko, today I will talk about its common varieties.
9 Common Anko Paste Varieties in Japan
First off, here are 4 popular types of Anko sweetened bean paste, based on the production method, which are most commonly used in Japan.
Tsubu-An is chunky, coarse Anko paste which is made by paying attention not to break the skin of Azuki red beans.
Tsubushi-An is a type of Anko paste made by mashing Azuki red beans with their seed coats retained.
Koshi-An is smooth Anko paste. This type is made by pureeing the Azuki red beans whose seed coats are removed.
Ogura-An is a mixure of Koshi-An (Tsubushi-An) paste and a species of Azuki called “Dainagon (大納言)” which is simmered in sugar syrup with its shape retained.
Last, the below are 5 most common types of Anko paste based on the ingredient, or the variety of beans.
When we Japanese just say “Anko”, that usually refers to Azuki-An made from “Azuki (小豆)” red beans. Azuki-An is the most common variety of Anko paste. The sweet red bean paste is widely used in various types of Wagashi sweets.
As the word “Aka (赤)” means red in Japanese, Aka-An is another name for Azuki-An. Additionally, Aka-An also refers to the Anko paste made using red beans other than Azuki, such as red kidney beans.
As the word “Shiro (白)” means white in Japanese, Shiro-An is the Anko paste made using white beans like white kidney beans.
Uguisu-An is the Anko paste made from green peas.
Zunda is the Anko paste made by grinding green soybeans, which is known as a regional specialty of Miyagi and Yamagata Prefectures.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 餡 )