Zenzai vs Oshiruko : 2 Types of Japanese Red Bean Soup
During the cold winter months, we Japanese often have various dishes with baked “Mochi (餅)” sticky plain glutinous rice cakes.
Representative examples of such Japanese mochi dishes include these 3 easy dishes whose recipes I introduced before, “Zoni (雑煮)”, “Zenzai (ぜんざい)” and “Oshiruko (おしるこ)”, sometimes simply called “Shiruko (汁粉)”.
The Difference between Zenzai and O-Shiruko
Kansai-Style Zenzai with Baked Mochi
When it comes to the last 2 mochi dishes mentioned above, actually Zenzai is a Japanese red bean soup dish nearly identical in appearance to Shiruko.
Zenzai and Oshiruko are both traditionally made by simmering red beans (typically Azuki beans), sweetened with sugar, and often served with baked mochi rice cakes.
Then, what is the difference been these 2 Japanese red bean soups?
Kanto-Style Zenzai with Baked Mochi
In the Kanto region around Tokyo, Zenzai generally refers to a little most, sweet red bean paste itself, whereas, in the Kansai region around Osaka, the hot soup with chunky, coarse sweetened 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 sweetened red bean paste is known as “Kameyama (亀山)” or “Ogura (小倉)”, by the way.
Kansai-Style Oshiruko with Baked Mochi
In Kanto, Oshiruko refers to sweet red bean soup in general. Meanwhile, in Kansai, Oshiruko refers to the soup made with smooth sweetened red bean paste called “Koshi-An (漉し餡)“.
|Kanto||A little moist sweetened red bean paste itself||Sweet red bean soup|
|Kansai||Red bean soup with Tsubu-An paste||Red bean soup with Koshi-An paste|
Finally, the above is the comparison table of the difference between Zenzai and Oshiruko red bean soups.
|Amono Foods Freeze-Dry Instant Oshiruko Soup|
(Reference page : Wikipedia ぜんざい )