The Difference: Ogura An vs Tsubu An vs Koshi An

Unlike many countries, Japan has a variety of sweets made with sweetened red bean paste called “Anko (餡子)” or “An (餡)”. Anko actually comes in various different varieties, but many of them are made of the red bean called “Azuki (小豆)”.

The sweet red bean paste is typically used in traditional Japanese confections or “Wagashi (和菓子)”, which include Manju, Daifuku, Dorayaki, and what I introduced in the previous article, Ankoro Mochi.

Anko has different names depending on the form of red beans in it, and the typical example includes Koshi An, Tsubu An, and Ogura An, which actually are the most common types of Anko paste in Japan.

Ogura An vs Tsubu An vs Koshi An: Sweet Red Bean “Anko” Paste

Nonetheless, many Japanese people can’t clearly tell the difference between Tsubu An and Ogura An, because they are close in appearance.

But what is the difference between Tsubu An, Ogura An, and Koshi An? Today, for people who are interested, let me explain that.

Koshi An (こしあん)

Koshi An

First off, Koshi An is a smooth Azuki red bean paste without skin. The red beans are boiled in water, mashed, strained through cloth, and kneaded up. Koshi An is often used interchangeably with Tsubu An. (e.g. Oshiruko and Zenzai)

Tsubu An (つぶあん)

Manju with Tsubu An

In contrast, Tsubu An is carefully made grainy so as not to collapse the shape of Azuki red beans as much as possible, and the outer skin of Azuki is not removed. Tsubu An is sometimes called Ogura An as they are similar things.

Ogura An (小倉あん)

Ogura Toast with Ogura An

Lastly, Ogura An is a mix of Koshi An and the larger species of Azuki, such as “Dainagon (大納言)”, which is simmered in molasses syrup with its shape retained. By the way, the specialty of Nagoya, Ogura Toast is a slice of toast topped with Ogura An.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia 餡 )


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

1 Response

  1. March 29, 2021

    […] Dorayaki (どら焼き) is two round slices of castella-like cake, filled like a sandwich with red beans, not the the smooth paste but a more bean-y paste called Tsubu-An (粒あん). The cake batter traditionally contains Mirin and even some soy sauce and is sweetened by honey. (Find a nice list of different Anko textures here) […]

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