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Oshiruko Recipe: A Warm Sweet Red Bean Soup Made Easy

Oshiruko Recipe: A Warm Sweet Red Bean Soup Made Easy

Craving a comforting dessert that warms you from the inside out? Look no further than oshiruko, a traditional Japanese sweet soup. This delightful treat features sweetened azuki beans (red beans) simmered to a comforting paste and served hot in a bowl.

But don't be intimidated by its exotic name! Oshiruko is surprisingly easy to make at home, even for beginners. With readily available ingredients and a simple oshiruko recipe, you can create this authentic Japanese dessert and experience the warmth and sweetness in your own kitchen. So, let's dive in and explore the delicious world of oshiruko with Kiichin !

1. What is oshiruko?

Oshiruko, also sometimes called zenzai, is a traditional Japanese sweet dessert soup. It is typically made with azuki beans (red beans) that are cooked and sweetened, forming a thick paste. This paste is then served hot in a bowl with various toppings, most commonly mochi (soft rice cakes) or shiratama dango (glutinous rice flour dumplings).

Oshiruko is a Japanese sweet soup made with red beans and mochi.

Oshiruko is a Japanese sweet soup made with red beans and mochi.

Explore our collection of bowls perfect for serving Oshiruko soup in the comfort of your home.

2. Ingredients for making Oshiruko soup - Japanese red bean recipes

For the sweet azuki bean paste:

  • 1 cup dried azuki beans (around 7 oz)
  • 4 cups water
  • ¾ cup sugar (or to taste)
  • Pinch of salt

The ingredients of oshiruko are simple and easy to find at home. 

The ingredients of oshiruko are simple and easy to find at home.

For the toppings (choose one or both):

  • 6 pieces kirimochi (square rice cakes) to make Japanese red bean soup with mochi
  • 1 packet shiratama dango (glutinous rice flour dumplings)
Adding the ingredients for the topping to make oshiruko more delicious.
Adding the ingredients for the topping to make oshiruko more delicious.

Optional substitutions:

  • Pre-sweetened azuki bean paste: For convenience, you can use 1 (15 oz) can of pre-sweetened azuki bean paste instead of making your own.
  • Store-bought mochi: If you can't find kirimochi, you can use store-bought mochi balls, sliced into bite-sized pieces.

Notes:

  • You can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste preference. Start with ¾ cup and add more to taste after simmering.
  • If using pre-sweetened azuki bean paste, adjust the amount of sugar added to the recipe accordingly to avoid making it overly sweet.
  • Ensure the shiratama dango you purchase requires cooking, as some varieties are pre-cooked and ready to eat.

Perhaps you're also interested in a simple recipe to make japanese milk bread at home.

3. How to make Oshiruko recipe: Easy steps you can follow at home

    3.1. Soaking and cooking azuki beans

      Step 1: Rinse: In a colander, rinse the azuki beans under running water until the water runs clear.

      Rinse the red beans carefully with fresh water to remove the dust.

      Rinse the red beans carefully with fresh water to remove the dust.

      Step 2: Soak: Transfer the rinsed beans to a large bowl and cover them with at least 4 cups of water. Soak them for at least 8 hours, or overnight (longer soaking times can help soften the beans further).

      Soak the red beans at least 8 hours or overnight to reduce cooking time.

      Soak the red beans at least 8 hours or overnight to reduce cooking time.

      Step 3: Drain and cook: Drain the soaked beans and discard the soaking water. Rinse the beans once more under running water. Transfer them to a pot and add fresh water (refer to ingredient list for quantity). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, or until the beans are tender and easily mashed between your fingers.

      Cook the red beans until they can be easily mashed with your fingers.

      Cook the red beans until they can be easily mashed with your fingers.

      Optional: Using a pressure cooker: For faster cooking, you can use a pressure cooker. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cooking beans, using the appropriate amount of water from the ingredient list. Cooking time will typically be around 20-30 minutes.

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      3.2. Sweetening the azuki bean paste

      Step 1: Mash the beans: Once the beans are cooked, you can choose the desired texture for your oshiruko. For a smoother paste, mash the beans completely using a potato masher or food processor. For a chunkier texture, mash them partially, leaving some whole beans.

      After cooking the red bean, mash it to make red bean pasta.

      After cooking the red bean, mash it to make red bean pasta.

      Step 2: Sweeten and simmer: Add the sugar and salt to the mashed beans in the pot. Stir well to combine and bring to a simmer over low heat. Taste and adjust sweetness and salt to your preference. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

      3.3. Preparing the mochi and shiratama if you want (optional)

        Mochi:

        • Traditional method: This method involves boiling glutinous rice, pounding it into a sticky dough, and shaping it into small balls. However, it requires specialized equipment and can be time-consuming.
        • Store-bought option: For ease, you can use already prepared mochi, readily available at most Asian grocery stores. Look for kirimochi (square rice cakes) and slice them into bite-sized pieces before serving.
        You can add mochi as a topping to make oshiruko more fantastic.
        You can add mochi as a topping to make oshiruko more fantastic.

        Shiratama dango:

        Follow the cooking instructions on the package of your shiratama dango. They typically involve boiling the dumplings for a few minutes until they float to the surface. Drain and rinse them with cold water before serving.

        Follow the instructions on the package to make shiratama dango.

        Follow the instructions on the package to make shiratama dango.

        3.4. Assembling and serving oshiruko:

          Step 1: Ladle the warm azuki bean paste: Divide the sweet azuki bean paste into individual bowls.

          Step 2: Add toppings: Add a few pieces of mochi or shiratama dango (or both, if using) to each bowl.

          Step 3: Enjoy warm: Serve the oshiruko warm. You can optionally garnish it with a sprinkle of kinako (roasted soybean flour) for added flavor and texture.

          Useful tips:

          • If the oshiruko becomes too thick while simmering, add a little bit of extra water to thin it out to your desired consistency.
          • Leftover oshiruko can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop before serving.

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          Assemble oshiruko and make it ready to serve warm.

          Assemble oshiruko and make it ready to serve warm.

          4. Additional tips and variations of oshiruko recipe

            For a smooth and flavorful azuki bean paste

            • Soak thoroughly: Ensure the beans soak for a minimum of 8 hours, or preferably overnight. Longer soaking helps them soften, leading to a smoother final texture.
            • Partial mashing vs. complete mashing: The choice depends on your preference. Completely mashing the beans creates a silky smooth paste, while partially mashing leaves some whole beans for a slightly chunkier texture.
            • Simmering is key: After adding sugar and salt, simmer the paste over low heat for 10-15 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the sweetness to become well incorporated.
            • Adjust sugar and salt to taste: Don't hesitate to taste the paste and adjust the sweetness and saltiness according to your preference.
            Japanese red bean soup oshiruko has many variants nowadays.
            Japanese red bean soup oshiruko has many variants nowadays.

            Variations on the basic recipe:

            • Ginger for a touch of warmth: Add a small piece of peeled and thinly sliced ginger to the pot while cooking the azuki beans. This adds a subtle warming spice to the final dish.
            • Explore different beans: While azuki beans are traditional, you can experiment with other types, like black beans, kidney beans, or even a combination for a unique flavor profile. Adjust cooking time according to the specific bean variety used.
            • Get creative with toppings: While mochi and shiratama dango are common choices, you can explore other options. Try toasted sliced almonds, chopped peanuts, or even a dollop of whipped cream for a delightful twist.

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            5. Conclusion

              So there you have it! Making oshiruko recipe at home is surprisingly easy and rewarding. With a few simple ingredients and steps, you can create this warm and comforting Japanese dessert soup, perfect for a cozy afternoon or a delightful ending to a meal.

              Oshiruko is not just a delicious treat, but also a delightful way to experience the essence of Japanese comfort food. So, gather your ingredients, follow these simple steps, and embrace the taste of Japan with a homemade bowl of oshiruko!

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