Updated: Jun 2, 2021
餡 An is the absolute fundamental element of Wagashi (Japanese sweets) but what is it?
The closest explanation to describe An is "sweet bean paste." (for Norwegian explanation, it would be"Bønnesyltetøy.") When we talk about "an" in Japan, it's Azuki-an (made from Azuki beans - small red beans.) There are two types of An: Koshi-an (smooth paste without skin of the bean which are used for more delicate cakes, such as Jyoumamagashi) and Tsubu-an (paste of whole bean which are more versatile and used in different cakes, such as Dorayaki.)
In central Japan, Ogura-toast is commonly served in café. It is Tsubu-an on hot toast with butter. Tsubu-an is so versatile and can be eaten hot (like Zenzai - sweet red bean soup,) in room temperature (in different cakes) or even cold in summer - mixed into ice cream (also very common as Ogura-ice cream in Japan,) or snow cone, or however can be used to accompany your dessert!
Ingredients for An are quite simple (beans, water, sugar, and optional salt.)
However, it requires to be cooked in 3 different processes:
1) Shibukiri - to remove bitterness of beans.
2) Yude Azuki - boiled Azuki beans. And finally,
3) Takiage - cook with sugar.
It is my great pleasure and honour to introduce Tsubu An to our menu.
How it's made video is now available: