Glossary - Ingredients

Anko/Sweetened red bean paste


Sweet paste with all the nutrients from adzuki beans which is the base of “wagashi” (Japanese-style confectionary)


Crushed red adzuki beans with sugar kneaded in. There are two types of anko: Tsubu-an, which is made by cooking adzuki beans so as not to crush the grains, and koshi-an, which is cooked adzuki paste with the outer skin removed. Besides "wagashi", it is also used as an ingredient of the popular Japanese bread "Anpan" (sweet bread with anko inside of it). It is also widely used in parfaits and other styles of confectionery.


Polyphenol in the adzuki bean skin has an antioxidant effect, and they are rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals. There are also plenty of B vitamins which help to metabolize carbohydrates.


Refrigerate if using within 2-3 days, otherwise keep in the freezer. The high sugar content means it will not get hard when frozen.


Adzuki paste, also spelled "aduki beans," was salty originally, but during the Muromachi period (1336-1573) sweeter anko started showing up more. Meat was not a big part of Japanese diets in the past, so adzuki was a precious source of protein at the time. Also, it is more accurately referred to as sweetened red bean paste rather than sweet red bean paste.

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