Sweet bean paste is very popular in Japan.
Using beans for dessert/sweets may sound strange to Westerners, but it’s something many Japanese people who live outside Japan crave.
There are three main types of sweet bean paste.
One is “Tsubuan.”
It’s typically made of Azuki beans.
It’s the chunky type, and you keep the beans mostly intact.
Today you can find dried Azuki beans at many Co-op stores in the U.S., so I could make it myself if I really wanted to (it’s not difficult but time-consuming), or I could also buy premade one at Asian grocery stores.
But the other day I asked myself, “isn’t there a different way to make sweet beans that makes better sense to someone like myself who lives outside Japan?”
Why not using an ingredient which is easy to come by in the U.S.
So I decided to use canned black beans.
I drained the beans, removed the excess liquid as much as I could by folding the beans with a few paper towels and pressing them, added sugar and a little salt, and cooked.
A good thing about it is that I can control the amount of sugar.
Here is the “Tsubuan” I made with the black beans.
If you really love the Azuki taste, or if you are teaching someone traditional Japanese cuisine, you should definitely use Azuki.
But for me this black bean version completely satisfies my craving, and it’s so (ridiculously) easy to make.
This is “Koshian.”
Traditionally, again it’s made of Azuki beans.
Here is my black bean version.
Koshian is the smooth-type.
I just used my hand blender and made it into paste.
Another main sweet bean paste popular in Japan is called “Shiroan.”
It’s made of white beans.
For this I used canned butter beans.
How to make it is the same as the “Koshian” version.
I drained the beans, removed excess liquid, added sugar and a little salt, cooked, and made it into paste with a hand blender.
Shiroan is versatile, and you can add different flavors and colors.
Here is something I created by adding raspberry powder.
This raspberry Shiroan is sweet but slightly tart.
Again, these are NOT how to make traditional Japanese sweet beans/bean paste but super easy ways to satisfy my craving.