Welcome again to my kitchen. It’s been a while since the last part, but I finally had the time to write another one.
I still remember it like yesterday when last year I was sitting with my wife in small coffee place in Nara during our trip to Japan and was able to taste the red bean paste I saw in anime more times than I could count. It was different, as I knew only the savoury beans preparations like chilli con carne or beans with tomatoes, but I enjoyed the taste nonetheless. So, this time I decided to refresh my memory and bring back those feelings with another anime staple of coffee jelly to combine into a nice cream parfait as a tribute to the end of summer.
Sweet red bean paste (Anko - 餡子)
This red bean paste is simple paste made by mainly only two ingredients – red beans (adzuki beans) and sugar. It’s often used in Japanese desserts and confections. In Japan there are several different ways to make red bean paste. The most popular ways are:
- Tsubushian (粒あん) – boiled adzuki beans that have been mashed with the skin on.
- Koshian (漉し餡) – boiled adzuki beans that have been passed through a sieve to remove the skin.
Tsubushian paste is often used in desserts like parfait or in taiyaki, whereas koshian is used in traditional sweet confections (wagashi) for its smooth texture. Because I’ll be using anko on parfait, here is a recipe for tsubushian paste.
- 150g adzuki beans
- 150g brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
1. Wash and leave the beans soaking overnight in a pot. The next day wash the beans again.
2. Put them in the pot with sufficient amount of water for every bean to be submerged. Bring it to boil, then leave it for five minutes and drain. Repeat this process up to three times to remove the harsh taste of the beans.
3. After the final boiling cycle, drain the beans again, add fresh water and bring to boil. Leave it simmer on medium heat for about an hour or two (occasionally add water to keep beans submerged) until you can squish the bean easily between your fingers.
4. Drain the beans again, this time keeping the excess water. Mash them, add a little bit of the excess water back, and bring back to the heat. Slowly mix in sugar until all of it is dissolved and you can “draw” a line at the bottom of the saucepan for few seconds (if the paste is thick, you can always add a little bit more of the excess water you kept for these reasons).
5. Add pinch of salt, mix, and set it aside. Put cooled paste into airtight container. You can store it in the fridge for about 2-3 weeks or you can wrap individual portions in foil and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Coffee Jelly (コーヒーゼリー)
This is again one of the staple food / desserts you often find in anime – it’s self-explanatory, so let’s get to the recipe.
1. Read and follow the instructions on your gelatine package (either powder or sheets). I used gelatine powder with agar, which is for about ½ litre of liquid – in our case coffee.
2. Prepare your coffee and sweeten it with sugar depending on its bitterness and your desired taste.
3. Pour the coffee into the saucepan (and any remainder into your coffee cup) and let it cool a little bit.
4. Add your gelatine powder and bring your coffee to boil. Simmer for about two minutes and set aside to cool slightly. Still warm (and in liquid form) pour into prepared container. Let it fully cool down and then store in the fridge.
Finally, two easy recipes down and it’s time for the final one, which basically is not recipe at all; you just need all the basic ingredients put together in your parfait while following a few easy steps:
1. Put desired amount of ice cream into an appropriate bowl or glass (if it’s a high glass, you can put a little bit of cornflakes under the ice cream to soak the melted ice cream; it’s a neat trick I learned in Japan).
2. Add your anko (sweet red bean paste).
3. Add whipped cream.
4. Finally, cut your coffee jelly into cubes and add it on the top of the whipped cream and it’s done (you can always substitute some of the ingredients, add some fruit or sprinkles, whatever your sweet tooth desires).
I hope you enjoyed this summer tribute and give these recipes a shot! If you enjoy this series, please share it with your friends and comment below. I enjoy cooking, and this way I always try to find new recipes and expand my culinary knowledge. While writing this part I was already researching some other recipes to potentially bring you in the future. I definitely want to try make gyoza, so you might find that next. As for the other things I plan to do – maybe a mini-series where I explore ramen might be a good idea as the evenings are getting colder and it is a nice, warm, and comforting food for the winter, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Until then, またね！