Here’s how to make anko the proper way. A shortcut would be to find a tin of cooked adzuki beans in water and add 3 tbsp sugar or 2 tbsp agave syrup/honey if you prefer an alternative natural sweetener, then simmer for until most of the water has gone. An even shorter cut would be to find ready-made anko in an Asian food store or online!

Difficulty Level:

Quick version: EASY PEASY
Home-made version: Takes quite a long time but tastes delicious


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I prefer tsubu-an because I like the chunks of bean but in Japan koshi-an is considered a more refined and elegant dessert!

300g uncooked adzuki beans
225g caster sugar


  1. Bring water and beans to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 10 mins. Switch off heat and place lid on pan. Soak for 30-40 mins.
  2. Check the beans are soft and puffy and throw away just a little of the water – there should be about 3cm water above beans.
  3. Place pan on medium heat, when beans start DANCING, turn down heat and simmer for 30-40 mins. If drying out, add more water. Remove any froth.
  4. When beans are soft, switch off heat, put on lid, soak for another 40mins.
  5. Throw away a little water again, add 1/2 the sugar to the beans and simmer on mid-low heat. When sugar has dissolved, add the rest. Simmer on low and add water if needed.
  6. When beans are soft and mushy but not broken, turn off heat. Leave to cool for a while, then transfer to bowl and refrigerate.
  7. To make koshi-an (smooth version), push cooked beans through sieve to remove skins and get rid of lumps.
  8. Have this with some cream, ice cream, fruit, kanten jelly or on its own for a delicious snack or dessert!

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