Japanese Cakes/Wagashi 2: Recipe-Anko/Sweetmeats


One main ingredients in traditional Wagashi/Japanese Cakes is “anko” (or more simply “an”) which can be translated as “sweetmeats” or “bean jam”.

I would like here to introduce a simple way to make one’s own “anko” at home:


Azuki/Adzuki/red beans (in Japanese: 小豆): 150 g
Sugar: 150g
Salt: a little


a) Wash azuki lightly. Put in a large basin with an equal amount of water and turn on heat to high.

b) Bring to boil. If beans level is higher that of water, add water till beans are completely covered. Let simmer. Add water 2 or 3 times as soon as the water does not cover completely the beans and this until beans stop floating on water.

c) Drain beans, put them back into basin with same amount of water and turno fire to high. Repeat a9 operation.

d) Cook as c) fro 40~60 minutes.

e) Mash azuki beans lightly. Add sugar. Simmer and stir to mix, making sure the jam does not overboil.

f) Add a little salt (to your taste) and mix.
Let cool completely.
You can eat as it is of course, but you will need it to make your cakes!
You can either sieve it to make it a very fine paste, sieve a part and mix it with the unsieved part, or use it as it is. In any case it will be easy to fashion!


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17 thoughts on “Japanese Cakes/Wagashi 2: Recipe-Anko/Sweetmeats”

  1. Hey Robert,
    The image on top looks interesting, looks like one of the toffees we get out here. What is it?



  2. Bonjour Robert, what if you soak the beans over night, do you still need to do step B and C? What’s the purpose of step B and C? Can you just cook the beans directly after soaking them? I’m planning to make my own daifuku. Thank you.


    1. Dear Divina!
      The purpose of changing the water is to make sure that the beans are properly cooked and softened.
      This is the tradtional way.
      Now, you may try the way you mentioned!


  3. Hi Robert,
    I tried making some anko but it’s not thick enough to shape. Will I be able to fix it?

    Also, can I use tinned beans the next time?


  4. Hi Robert,

    The recipe looks great, thank you! I have two questions though: How do you store the red bean paste? And, do you have to soak the azuki beans beforehand? I have read some recipes for red bean paste, and some of them tell me to boil the beans and some of them don’t, so I’m a little confused.



    1. Dear Lynn!
      If the beans look old and very hard, you will have to soak them.
      If they look, you need not.
      Red bean paste containing sugar can stored in fridge inside a tupperware.


  5. Bonjour Robert!
    Thanks for dropping by on my blog and for your useful remark…;-)
    This recipe is a discovery for me! I tried adzuki beans with matcha tea muffins (posted the recipe on my blog a while back).
    Best, Myrtille


  6. This looks quite good. I’m not sure where I would find adzuki beans, maybe a health food store…I’m not even sure I’ve seen this variety.

    I just Googled – now I know what they look like!


  7. From the pictures, It kind of looks like a fig newton. I’ve had a versionn of a red bean cake in our Japantown in LA. It was pretty good. I need to have it again to fully appreciate it. But for my first try, I really liked it.


  8. Bonjour Robert,

    I love the recipe, a gem packed with proteins what more can a vegetarian like me ask for. I just have to find the adzuki beans, i will try a speciality store.


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