9 Common Types of Anko Sweet Bean Paste

“Anko (餡子)” is a sweet paste made by boiling beans in water and sweetening them with sugar. As you may know, the bean most commonly used for making Anko is Azuki red beans.

Anko is an essential ingredient for “Wagashi (和菓子)” sweets and also used in Japanese cuisine.

With the Japanese food boom, I think the sweet bean paste has been gaining recognition outside of Japan. However, when it comes to the type, it isn’t known well.

Actually, there are many variations of Anko in Japan, and those can be classified into several types based on the production method and the ingredient. Today I will talk about each type.

4 Common Types of Anko, based on the production method

Firstly, here are 4 common types of Anko sweetened bean paste, based on the production method.

Tsubu-An (つぶあん)

Tsubu-An

Tsubu-An is chunky, coarse Anko paste. It is made so as not to break the husk of Azuki red beans as much as possible, instead of pureeing.

Tsubushi-An (つぶしあん)

Tsubushi-An is mashed Anko paste. This type is made by mashing Azuki red beans with the seed coat.

Koshi-An (こしあん)

Koshi-An

Koshi-An is smooth Anko paste. This type is made by pureeing the Azuki red beans after the seed coats are removed.

Ogura-An (小倉あん)

Ogura-An is a processed Anko like a cross between Tsubu-An and Koshi-An. It is traditionally made simmering “Dainagon (大納言)” beans in syrup and adding them to Tsubushi-An or Koshi-An.

Dainagon beans are big and intense in color compared to Azuki red beans, and don’t break easily.

5 Common Types of Anko, based on the ingredient 

Lastly, here are 5 common types of Anko bean paste based on the ingredient.

Azuki-An (小豆餡)

Azuki-An

When we Japanese just say “Anko”, that means Azuki-An made with red “Azuki (小豆)” beans. Azuki-An is the most common type of Anko. The red bean paste is widely used in various types of Japanese confections.

Aka-An (赤餡)

The word, “Aka (赤)” means red in Japanese, so Aka-An is another name for Azuki-An. Aka-An also refers to the Anko paste made using red beans other than Azuki, such as red kidney beans.

Shiro-An (白餡)

The Japanese word, “Shiro (白)” means white, so Shiro-An is the Anko paste made with white beans like white kidney beans.

Although there are 2 types of Shiro-An, Tsubu-An-Type and Koshi-An-Type, the latter is more common and known as “Shironeri-An (白練餡)”.

Shironeri-An is used in various ways for traditional Japanese sweets, including “Manju (饅頭)“.

Uguisu-An (うぐいす餡)

Uguisu-An is the Anko paste made with green peas.

Zunda (ずんだ)

Zunda

Zunda is the sweet bean paste made by grinding green soybeans. It is famous as a local specialty of Miyagi and Yamagata Prefectures.

(Reference page : Wikipedia 餡 )

Tomo

Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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