Zenzai vs Oshiruko: 2 Types of Japanese Red Bean Soup
During cold winter months, we Japanese often have various “mochi (餅)” dishes with baked or steamed sticky rice cakes.
Representative examples of such mochi dishes include “Zoni (雑煮)”, “Zenzai (ぜんざい)”, “Oshiruko (おしるこ)” or “Shiruko (汁粉)”, and these 3 easy treats whose recipes I introduced before.
Among them, Zenzai is a Japanese red bean soup nearly identical to Oshiruko.
The Difference between Zenzai and O-Shiruko
Kansai-Style Zenzai with Cooked Mochi
Zenzai and Oshiruko are both traditionally made by simmering red beans (typically Azuki beans), sweetened with sugar, and often served with baked or steamed mochi rice cakes.
Then, what is the difference between these 2 red bean soups?
Kanto-Style Zenzai with Cooked Mochi
In the Kanto region around Tokyo, Zenzai generally refers to a little moist, sweet red bean paste itself, whereas, in the Kansai region around Osaka, the hot soup using chunky, coarse sweet red bean paste called “Tsubu-An (粒餡)” is referred to as Zenzai.
In Kansai, the Kanto-version Zenzai, the dish mainly consisting of a little moist sweet red bean paste is known as “Kameyama (亀山)” or “Ogura (小倉)”, by the way.
Kansai-Style Oshiruko with Cooked Mochi
In Kanto, Oshiruko refers to sweet red bean soup in general. On the other hand, in Kansai, Oshiruko refers to the soup made with smooth sweet red bean paste called “Koshi-An (漉し餡)“.
Lastly, to make it easier to understand, here is the comparison table of the difference between Zenzai and Oshiruko red bean soups.
|Kanto||A little moist sweet red bean paste itself||Sweet red bean soup|
|Kansai||Red bean soup with Tsubu-An paste||Red bean soup with Koshi-An paste|
(Reference Page: Wikipedia ぜんざい )