Anko (red bean paste) can be used not only for Japanese sweets but also for cooking！
Anko is a traditional sweet paste used in Japanese desserts, such as wagashi and yōgashi. Anko is mainly made from beans, sugar, and water. The most commonly used beans are azuki beans and soybeans, each giving a different flavor and color to the anko.
Anko made from azuki beans is called "anko," and it is the most common type of anko in Japan. Azuki beans are boiled and mashed, and then sugar is added to cook it. During this process, the flavor of the beans remains intact, resulting in a rich, sweet taste. Anko is widely used in wagashi, such as mochi, oshiruko, and daifuku.
On the other hand, anko made from soybeans is called "koshi-an," and it has a smoother texture and a milder flavor compared to anko. Soybeans are boiled and mashed into a paste, and then sugar is added to cook it. Koshi-an is widely used in yōgashi, such as pudding and cakes.
Anko can be eaten as it is, but it is mainly used as an ingredient in wagashi and yōgashi. It is also commonly served with Japanese tea or coffee. Anko is popular not only in Japan but also in other countries because of its sweet taste and smooth texture.
In recent years, dishes that use anko as an ingredient have emerged. For example, "ankake" is a thick sauce made from anko that is similar to Chinese "jianbing" sauce. "An-butter" is a food item that combines anko and butter and is popular as a topping for bread and toast.
Anko is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and history and is an essential element of Japan's traditional food culture. By savoring anko, one can feel the essence of Japanese culture and history.