The variety of Anko that is known as Japanese sweet bean paste
Anko (餡子), which is known as Japanese sweet bean paste or Japanese sweetened beans, is an essential ingredient for Japanese sweets.
As I wrote an article about traditional Japanese sweets made using Anko before, if you read the article, you will be able to know some about what Japanese confections are made with the sweet bean paste.
I think the Japanese sweet bean paste has been gaining its name recognition in the world thanks to the Japanese food boom and so on.
But have you ever heard of the variety of Anko?
The variety of Anko (餡子)
Actually, there are various kinds of Anko in Japan.But the Japanese sweet bean paste can broadly be classified based on the production method and the ingredient.
Varieties of Anko, based on the production method
Representative examples of the variety of Anko based on the production method are as follows.
Tsubu-an is the Anko with the original shape of beans.It is made so as not to break husks of the bean, without pureeing.
Tsubushi-an is the Anko paste that is made mashing beans along with their seed coats
Koshi-an is the Anko paste that is made pureeing the beans after their seed coats are removed.
Ogura-an is the processed Anko that is made adding the Azuki red bean named Dainagon (大納言), which is simmered and soaked in molasses, to Tsubushi-an or Koshi-an.Dainagon hardly falls apart.
Varieties of Anko, based on the ingredient
Representative examples of the variety of Anko based on the ingredient are as follows.
When we Japanese say Anko in the ordinary daily life, that means Azuki-an made from Azuki red beans, the most common type of Anko in Japan.This Anko is widely used for various kinds of Japanese sweets.
As the Japanese word, Aka (赤), means red, Aka-an includes Azuki-an and the Anko made using red beans, such as red kidney beans.
As the Japanese word, Shiro (白), means white, Shiro-an is the Anko made with white beans like white kidney beans.Although there are 2 types of Shiro-an, the Tsubu-an-type one and the Koshi-an-type one, the latter one, which is called Shironeri-an (白練餡), is typical.Shironeri-an is sometimes used for the bun of a traditional Japanese sweet, Manju (饅頭)(Amazon.com), and goes well with various ingredients, including fruits.
Uguisu-an is the paste that is made using green peas.
Zunda is the paste made by grinding green soybeans.It is famous as a local specialty food of Miyagi and Yamagata Prefecture.