A few days ago, we here at the monthly Japanese candy and snack box TokyoTreat took a deep dive into how to make your own taiyaki at home. And we had so much fun trying out cool new Japanese recipes that we wanted to take it even further!
There are lots of simple fillings for taiyaki, and some of our favorites include Nutella and custard. But those don’t really require too much prep work. We were up for a challenge so we decided to make something a little more uniquely Japanese. So we settled on taiyaki’s best friend, anko!
What is Anko?
Anko is a popular and traditional choice of filling for Japanese manju and sweets. You could compare it to a type of jam or paste made of Japanese sweet red or white beans. The thick spread gives any treat a rich and earthy sweetness. It’s even used in a lot of popular snacks like Japanese KitKat or in baked goods like an-pan (think of the anime 'Anpan Man')! The well balanced Japanese sweetness makes it the perfect companion to matcha, wagashi and even chocolate!
We went for a version that uses white beans called shiro-an, but there are plenty of other super tasty variations made with red sweet beans (azuki).
250g Daifuku Mame (a type of Shiro Ingen Mame) – White Beans (0.551 lb) – Should be available at your local Asian grocery store.
Water for soaking beans (1000 ml)
100ml+50ml Cold Water
250g Granulated Sugar (0.551 lb)
A pinch of Salt
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Steps to Make Shiro-an:
1. First, start by adding your beans to a large bowl. Fill the bowl with water so that it completely covers the beans. Cover the bowl and allow the beans to soak for hours (ideally overnight) – until all the wrinkles on the beans disappear.
2. Once fully soaked, transfer the beans and water to a large pot. Place over a medium heat until it boils. Then add 100ml of cold water to keep the beans boiling through evenly.
3. Once the water starts to boil again, scoop out the foam. Turn the heat down low.
4. Leave to simmer for 3 minutes.
5. Take off the heat, drain the water to prevent bitterness and then rinse lightly with cold water.
6. Add the beans back into the pot and add new water to the pot once again until the beans are completely covered.
7. Turn on the heat and bring the water to a boil once again. Then add cold water until all the bubbles disappear and the simmering stops. Then allow it to boil once more.
8. Once boiling, remove the foam. Then add a drop lid and add a top lid to the pan. Reduce the heat to extremely low. Leave it to simmer for 90 minutes or until the beans become soft. Avoid stirring because this could mash the beans.
9. Once soft, drain the water once again and place the beans back in the pot (on a very low heat). Add in one third of the sugar and mix in well. Repeat until all of your sugar is gone. By this point it should be the texture of jam.
10. Finally place on a baking tray, spread it out, cover it and allow it to cool before using it as a filling.
Wanna enjoy the snacking with none of the hassle?
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