Rinse the azuki red beans and place them into a pot.
Add a generous amount of water and bring to a boil on high heat.
When it begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain the red beans and discard the cooking water.
Put the red beans in the pot and add a generous amount of water again.
Bring it to a boil.
Simmer for 5 minutes and discard the cooking water.
This time, add 700 ml (2.96 cups) of water and bring it to a boil again.
Simmer for about 30 minutes on low heat. If the foam appears on the surface, remove it. The broth is reduced while simmering for 30 minutes. If the beans appear on the surface, add just enough water to submerge the beans.
Pinch 2 or 3 azuki beans to ckeck the firmness. When the beans are soft enough to be crushed, scoop out about half of the azuki beans (250 g / 8.8 oz) and transfer them to a bowl with a mesh strainer. These azuki beans will be used to make Anko, sweet bean paste later.
Add the sugar to the remaining red bean broth.
Thoroughly remove the foam while simmering.
Add a pinch of salt.
Simmer until the red bean broth slightly thickens.
Next, let's make Anko, sweet bean paste for kushi-dango. Place the saved azuki beans into a pot.
Add the sugar.
Reduce the liquid on medium heat while stirring the red bean mixture with a wooden paddle to avoid burning.
Add a pinch of salt.
Drop the anko from the paddle to check its consistency. When the anko drops as shown in the video, it is ready since the bean paste becomes firmer when cooled.
These are tofu dango we made in our previous recipe. Skewer 3 dango with a bamboo stick.
Place the anko on the skewered tofu dango.
Now, let's serve the Zenzai.
Ladle the hot Zenzai into a bowl and add 3 dango.
Sprinkle matcha green tea powder on the dango.
Zenzai is popular especially in winter, and Anko is used in a variety of Japanese desserts.
To make shiratama dango from scratch, please check out our Tofu Dongo recipe.
If you don't want to make zenzai but just want to make anko, see our Ogura Butter Sandwich recipe.