Soak the adzuki beans for 4 hours, or overnight. Drain and tip into a saucepan, then add 1½ cups (375 ml) water and boil for 1 hour or until soft. Remove from the heat and mash well with a potato ricer, then add the sugar. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and no liquid remains – it is done when you can see the bottom of the pan for at least 1 second when you scrape your spatula across it, before the mixture flows back over it. The paste will thicken further as it cools. Store your red bean paste (anko) in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to a week.
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