Japanese Cakes/Wagashi 3: Recipe-Shiro Anko/White Sweetmeats
In my previous article, I introduced the recipe for “red sweetmeats” or just “anko” in Japanese, an improtant ingredients in Wagashi.
But the red/violet colour is not always wanted.
Another popular way to make anko is to use “ingen mame”/kidney beans (US), or string/French beans (Europe).
Note that soy beans/”daizu” are not used in this recipe!
The advantage are multiple, as the “white” (actually beige) colour can be modified by adding green peas (green), pumpkin (yellow or orange), fruit pulp from papaya and mago. Variations are practically unlimited!
Kidney beans: 500g
Salt: three small pinches
Put beans in 3 times their volume of water in a large pan. Let soak for two nights. Change water twice a day.
Beans should have lost their “wrinkles” by then.
Bring water to boil over strong fire then simmer for 5 minutes on medium fire.
Drain water, making sure beans don’t dry up. The skin of the beans should peel off easily. Take skins and dark spots away.
Simmer again peeled beans until they soft and start breaking up. Start on a strong fire to bring to boil, then lower to medium fire.
Heat until most of the water has evaporated. Beans will pass through sieve more easily.
Pass all the beans through the sieve. Wash and dry the pan.
Add sugar and stir/mix over low fire.
Sugar becoming liquid upon heating will give a watery aspect to the mixture. Heat over low fire, stirring all the time for 25 minutes.
Once satisfied with the paste consistency, add salt, mix and stop fire.
Transfer to another dish for preserving until use. Do it at once while it is still hot.
Make sure it does not dry up.
Cover with a lid.
If lid does not close well enough, wrap the whole into cellophane paper.