Japan – Azuki Buns

I am going to stop apologising for my constantly late posts, because if I continue, then every single one will start with a “sorry.” Sorry, though!

I have always had a fascination with Japan. Can you blame me? I think it’s a wonderful country with a rich, diverse culture and mouth watering foods. Their history is so intriguing, and the language is just beautiful.

Because of my passion for the land of the rising sun, I am going to keep accounts of my journey as I start learning Japanese and cooking different foods. It will be an account that I can reflect upon in my later life – will I stick to it? Or will it all flounder? (My bet is the floundering, but may as well try it anyway!)

Today I made some anman – Sweet Azuki Bean Buns. I don’t have  a photograph, but this is how it looked:

A steamed bun with Azuki Bean paste inside.

A steamed bun with Azuki Bean paste inside.

They were delicious, and I used this recipe, because I forgot to buy yeast for the occasion. I used canned Azuki Sweet Bean paste, which I had bought from an Oriental Supermarket in Manchester when I had visited Chinatown. However, they are found in most Asian stores, but supermarkets such as Tesco do not stock them. It is a shame, really, because it means for eastern foods I have to travel into the city centre, which I don’t do often. My mother also gets quite fed up of going to the store, because I beg her so often!

There were a couple of problems with my anman though. I misread the recipe and dumped all the water in one go. The dough got incredibly sticky and was a real pain. Consequently, I added a lot more flour while kneading, and so the buns tasted very floury. The Azuki Bean Paste, in my opinion, is also too sweet, so I advise that if you decide to buy canned bean paste, you have a  very strong sweet tooth. I’m sure homemade paste will taste a lot better – yesterday I bought some canned Azuki Beans, and am planning on making my own paste.

In major UK supermarkets, the beans are down as “Aduki Beans” instead of Azuki Beans. So yes – they are the same thing!

Anman is perfect for a breakfast or a snack, and I really do love them. The recipe on Hiro’s website is lovely (she uses a lot of pantry ingredients, so you don’t have to go out of your way to buy yeast) so saves on a lot of stress.

– Tanvi x