粒餡つぶあん
Tsubu-An / Sweet Azuki Whole Bean Paste

Tsubu-An...also called 小豆餡あずきあん (Azuki An). You may purchase commercial products at oriental shops. But, you can make it to control its sweetness as you like. My family usually enjoy this paste with (もち) (Mochi /Rice cake) and special dishes on every new year's day. The paste is also the base item for most of Japanese sweets. I appreciate my mother's instruction very much.

大納言小豆だいなごんあずき (Dainagon Azuki) made in Japan has soft skin and great flavor, which is the most suitable to make Tsubu-An. However, it is tough to get it in Champaign-Urbana. Here is a recipe of Tsubu-An which uses baking powder to make bean skin soft, even though the beans are not made in Japan.

In this connection, Azuki is more suitable for 濃し餡こしあん (Koshi-An / Strained sweet Azuki bean paste) than Dainagon-Azuki. You can make Koshi-An by coupling with this recipe and the recipe of Shiro Koshi-An. (Cooking Time: about 2 or 3 hours except time of soaking beans)

Ingredients (for 2 lb)
Azuki Beans1 lb.
Baking Powder1 ts.
Syrup (Sugar + Water)3/4 lb. - 1 lb. of suger + 100 mL of water
Salt (It is fine even without this.)1/2 ts.

Directions

  1. Wash Azuki beans and put them in a large pot with plenty more water. Dissolve baking powder into the water. Soak them for the time of the direction mentioned in the package of the beans (about 8 hours).
  2. Heat the pot at high heathing range. After boiling up, make the heating range middle or low and keep heating for a while. Sometimes remove foam on the water which causes bitter taste, and check shape of the beans which become expanded during boiling.
  3. When the beans become soft but their skins do not flaw, strain the water from the beans by a sieve, and immediately soak the beans in cold water for about 5 minutes. This procedure is called 渋切りしぶきり (Shibukiri).
  4. Boil with Otoshi-ButaReturn the beans into the pot and add water until the water surface is just over the beans. Cover the water surface with 落とし蓋おとしぶた (Otoshi-Buta / a lid or a disc which has smaller diameter than its pot) and boil it again in middle or low heating range. During the boiling, add water sometimes in order to keep the water surface just over to the beans.
  5. When the beans become tender to crush easily by a spatula, make the heating range lowest and steam the beans for 30 minutes in order to make the bean skins softer.
  6. Turn the heating off. Cover a cotton cloth on a sieve and pour the beans on the cloth. Wring the cloth lightly not to crush the beans, and strain the water off from the beans. The mass in the cloth is 生餡なまあん (Nama-An / raw bean paste).
  7. Make syrup. Put water and sugar into a large pot with round bottom. Boil and mix them until the sugar dissolves into the water. Dissolve salt into the syrup, if you need.
  8. KneadWhen the syrup boils up, add the Nama-An into the pot and mix slowly with a wood spatula. If the paste becomes spattering or reaches to burn, reduce the heating range to middle.
  9. Scoop a mass of the paste by the spatula. If the mass barely sticks on the spatula, the softness is the best. Turn the heating off and scoop the paste onto a large tray bit by bit. Cool down and use for cooking or freeze for keeping.

Notes & Arrangements

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