Hooray! I can finally post ‘How to Make Tsubu-An’ here, so after this post I will be able to start making more Japanese Sweets and post on this blog.
As I mentioned before ‘An’ (or ’Anko’, they are same thing) is the main component of Japanese Sweets. It is normally a sweet paste made of beans. There are mainly three types of An (Anko) used for Japanese Sweets and they are ‘Tsubu-An’, ‘Koshi-An’ and ‘Shiro-An’.
- Tsubu-An ; Made of Azuki beans
- Koshi-An ; Made of Azuki beans, sieved and skins removed
- Shiro-An ; Made of white beans, skinned and sieved
‘Tsubu-An’ has Azuki bean’s skin left and not sieved so it’s got more of a coarse texture among all the other ‘Anko’. And maybe because of this coarseness it is tended to be used for more casual Sweets. It needs less procedure to make Tsubu-An but that is not the reason I make this type more often. I like Tsubu-An’s texture the most. It is very versatile. If you are interested in making Japanese Sweets, Tsubu-An making is the great place to start.
<How to Make Tsubu-An>
- 250g of Azuki Beans
- 210g of Granulated Sugar
- A pinch of Salt
Check beans and remove damaged ones. Soak dry beans in plenty of water covering the beans overnight. Following day throw the soaked water away and fill fresh water covering beans and start heating on a high heat.
As the water heats up some scum appears on the surface but don’t worry about it. After boiling for a few minutes throw all the water away. Rinse the beans and refill with fresh water and start boiling again. Do this boiling/throw-away-water/rinse-beans/re-fill-fresh-water twice.
After boiling the third time with fresh water if it still gets lots of scum change the water once more, but otherwise keep simmering so the top of the beans are just jumping a little. Do not stir beans at this stage and keep removing the little scum with a spoon as frequently as you can.
Check if the beans are cooked. If beans are soft and get squashed with the back of a spoon without much force they are done. Drain the beans onto a colander but do not drain out all the water. Keep some water aside.
Squash bean slightly either by using potato masher or using a food processor. You may want to add some water you kept aside for blending it easily. If you use a food processor blend it for 5-10 seconds and no more. Some coarse texture is the character for ‘Tsubu-An’.
Return the beans into a clean pot and add in sugar. Start boiling it on a low heat. The bottom gets burnt easily so keep stirring with a wooden spatula.
As it starts to evaporate it gets thicker. When you are stirring if a line can be drawn at the bottom of the pan with a spatula and the line stays visible for a while that is the time you stop heating. Or you can measure this timing by taking some bean mixture on a spatula and see if it stays as a small mountain without spreading out much. Anko becomes harder when it gets cooled down so do not over evaporate it. Add a pinch of salt and mix well.
Cool it on a wide container by creating some little mountains.
Do not use old Azuki beans that were kept for a while since the package was open. They don’t create good ‘An’ texture.
If you can choose I recommend you to use Japanese Azuki beans for making Anko. It is just so suitable for creating tasty Anko with a great texture and doesn’t produce much scum either. Some foreign beans produce so much scum so keep removing it, that’s the key for making tasty Anko and keep stirring to create great texture.
As you can see Azuki making is very simple with simple ingredients of just Azuki beans, Sugar and a pinch of Salt. However, it needs a lot of care & love in it. Good luck 💓