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Azuki

Blog, Winter Food

Awa-Zenzai あわぜんざい

Most of you are familiar with Zenzai but do you know awa-zenzai ?

あわぜんざい. Warm sweet  azuki beans with slow cooked glutinous millet grains. This is known as mochikibi. There is a place in Asakusa Tokyo called Umezono 梅園 which was established in 1854. This long serving confectionary shop cooks up awa zenzai in the winter.

This dish is perfect for cold winter days as it’s sweet and comforting and super filling.

Use around a cup of millet and wash well through a sieve then add to a pan with water. I start with just covering the millet with water and bringing it to a boil,then turn down the heat to your lowest setting pop on a lid and let it simmer. You may need to keep adding water so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom . Keep checking and add water when needed until it’s cooked. It will resemble porridge consistency.

Warm your sweet beans ( you can either make them yourself or I buy the ones already done in a can for quickness)

Serve together warm with a sweet chestnut if you like and green tea.

You can use any remaining cooked millet to make Ohagi ( Botamochi )

See previous Ohagi post ( just pound the millet like you would the glutinous rice.) I will do a new post for making millet Ohagi around the spring equinox when it is traditionally eaten.

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Kagami Biraki Zenzai 2019

On the 11th of January in Japan is kagami biraki. Which is the breaking of the Mochi of the Kagami mochi, which literally means “mirror mochi rice cake,”. Kagami mochi is two round mochi, the smaller placed atop the larger, and a daidai Japanese orange with an attached leaf on top. You can buy plastic ones like this in many convenience stores leading up to New Years in Japan and inside you will find the Mochi rice cake. 

Today it is tradition to eat your rice cake often in a dish called Zenzai ぜんざい or Oshiruko お汁粉 a sweet azuki bean soup . Zenzai is a traditional Japanese dessert.  It’s a thick sweet soup consisting
of boiled azuki beans and often served with mochi (rice cake) or shiratama dango (  I had a delicious Zenzai in Kyoto on my last visit so this meal really takes my thoughts back there. Oshiruko is more watery in consistency.

This is a comforting dessert in Japan sold hot in winter and in the summer you can see similar desserts with sweet beans dango and agar jelly called anmitsu . See a previous post . Also I have a previous Zenzai post from 2017 but thought you might like to see this years .

I used sweet red bean paste in a pan simmered in some  water and added grilled Mochi and a sweet chestnut often used in Osechi which I had a few left over from.

Blog, Summer Food

Soy Milk & Matcha Purin With Kuzu

The macrobiotic root known as kuzu has great nutritional and medicinal value it is especially good for the digestion. Kuzu has been commercially produced in Japan from as early as the 1600. Did you know the kuzu root is one of the largest in the world? Make sure when buying kuzu that is is 100% and not mixed with other starches to get the best medicinal effect.

Kuzu is a wonderful thickening and jelling agent and I always use it in my curry sauces . So with that in mind I decided to make this soy milk matcha purin using just a few ingredients.

Purin プリン is a Japanese dessert or pudding normally like a creme caramel sometimes using eggs.

For this recipe all you need is to add 165ml of soy milk to a pan and add 10g of kuzu starch and mix well . Add some sweetener if you wish a teaspoon of rice syrup maybe. As I was adding a matcha syrup at the end I didn’t add any sweetener. Then add a teaspoon of sifted matcha powder and whisk well. I use one of those small battery operated small milk frother whisks for this. Then turn on the heat and start to heat gradually stirring all the time if it doesn’t start to thicken turn up the heat a little more . Do not be tempted to leave it as it thickens all of a sudden. When it’s thick pour out into two small glasses  it should be thick like custard. Chill in the fridge preferably over night.

To make the syrup just add 2 teaspoons of rice syrup and 1 teaspoon of matcha to a pan with 2 teaspoons of water and heat a little then chill in the fridge. You will have enough for at least two puddings here.

When you want to serve add some vegan whipped cream ,soy yogurt or ice cream ,some sweet azuki beans ( to give your Purin that real Japanese flavour) and pour over your matcha syrup. Finish with a dusting of matcha.

 

Blog, Winter Food

Kagami Biraki Zenzai

in Japan on the 11th of January is Kagami biraki the breaking of the new year Mochi for luck and good fortune .
It is traditional to make  zenzai a sweet red bean soup with the toasted Mochi on the top.

This can be made as simple as you wish you can buy a tin of sweet red beans and add a little water and cook up into a soup. Zenzai is also available in a pouch just simply heat and serve .  Or you can buy a can of azuki beans drain and simmer in water with a sweetener . After this it gets a little more complicated if you want to cook your beans from scratch so for ease I do one of the above .

I cooked my mochi rice cake under the grill and topped this onto my zenzai

 

Blog, Summer Food

Salad Donburi

I love making these salad donburi ever since I came back from Kyoto and was inspired by my visit to kouso cafe 85 . (See reviews)
This one is sekihan ( grain rice with azuki bean ) topped with salad leaves, vegan kimchi by @bionaorganic avocado,cherry tomato, raw cauliflower, hijiki , shredded carrot, watercress, raw broccoli, celery, cucumber and cubes of mango .
Served with miso soup and a miso dressing .

Miso dressing : a teaspoon of white miso with a teaspoon of each of brown rice vinegar,toasted sesame oil and mirin . Mix well . I normally use a small jar put on the lid and shake well .
サラダ丼,
赤飯,サラダ葉、キムチ、アボカド、チェリートマト、生のカリフラワー、ひじき、細断したニンジン、クレソン、生ブロッコリー、セロリ、キュウリ、マンゴーのキューブなどがあります。
味噌ドレッシング,
みそ汁
マッチョチョコレートトリュフ