IMBB#15 Mizu Youkan – Red Bean Paste Jelly

mizu youkan green

Elise, who gave me top tips on photography back in the early days, is being the host this month with Is My Blog Burning-15 Has my blog jelled?.

azuki beansRed bean paste is a key ingredients for numerous Japanese desserts and appears in places such as; taiyaki – a fish shaped crepe popular at festivals; dorayaki – filled pancakes much loved by this robot cat with a four dimensional pocket; and innumerable souvenirs form Kyoto as manju. Eaten it many times but never made it, so it’s a very orthodox attempt, particularly after my two previous adventures with jellied delights.

I’m happy to report that it was easy to make and it seemed that the recipe was very forgiving. I was going to use a sugar-free dessert book I picked in Japan but the recipe called for pureed dates (!) and I was overwhelmed by kanji. I fell back on the old and faithful The Joy of Japanese Cooking by Kuwako Takahashi.

Mizu youkan is nothing if not interesting. I love it but Toni hates and gave the judgement of it tasting like it should which I guess is good. Perhaps the closest thing I could compare it to is the pumpkin in pumpkin pie. Well worth a try for a different texture and a different kind of sweetness.

The sweet bean paste made from azuki beans appears under a number of descriptions in English but in Japanese it’s referred to as either an or anko. The latter has more more potential for unpleasant pronunciation mix-ups, so I’d go with the an. You can soak the azuki beans overnight but here’s the method I followed.

1) Boil one cup of azuki beans in plenty of water for approximately 15 minutes and then drain, this will remove the dark juices.

2) Return the beans to the pot and cover with three times its volume of water, bring to the boil, and allow to simmer over a medium heat until the beans are very soft and can be crushed easily. Remove any froth that comes to the surface while you’re doing this.

3) Drain the beans in a teatowel in a colander and squeeze to remove any excess moisture (it will be hot so do be careful)

4) Return the beans to the pot and add one cup of sugar and one teaspoon of salt. This makes it quite sweet so you could cut back and add more later. Stir with a wooden spoon over a medium heat, the sugar should soften the beans and give it a sheen, continue stirring until “you can see the bottom for 10 seconds as you stir”.

And you’ve just made an. You have a choice whether you want it to be smooth Koshi-an and give a spin in a blender, or rougher Tsubushi-an and just crush it with the wooden spoon. As I wanted the more interesting texture of the latter but still needed a smooth surface, I made a compromise by attacking part of it with a bamix. It can now be in the fridge for three days or it can be frozen or made into

Mizu Youkan
Agar agar is used here and goes by the Japanese name of kanten. Some recipes call for “sticks” but as they don’t specify, the correct weight to be used can be guessed by looking at the weight of the packet you have and cutting appropriately (scales schmales).
1) Soak 8gm of agar agar in water for one hour, drain, squeeze, and cut into small pieces.

2) Add to two cups of water, bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring until dissolved.

2) Gradually mix this in with two cups of an. Cook over a low heat, adding sugar or salt to taste, until well mixed.

3) Remove from the heat and mix in another 1 cup of water. Place in in a smaller bowl to go in a larger bowl with cold water and stir until lukewarm. This ensure the colour goes all the way through the jelly. Put it in a pan and refrigerate until set. It should be about an inch high.

Now it’s just a matter of cutting it into slices. I cut it into tuna sashimi size with a slight angle cut. Enjoyed with sencha green tea with enough sunshine to pretend it was a mild summer’s day. I’ll have to defer on Chika on the confusions of green tea. And if anybody could tell me what the tiny back scratchers are in the top pic, I’d be very grateful.

mizu youkan grey

Double the youkan action: with ‘Ono Kine Grindz

Round-up: Elise does a great job of nailing some jellies to the wall IMBB-15 Has my blog jelled? – Round Up Recipe. Many thanks for hosting.



  1. Reid’s avatar

    Hi Anthony,

    Why did I have a feeling that someone was going to make this….

    I made the same thing too! =P

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    Hey no way!

    What is it about thirtysomething men and Japanese red bean paste desserts?

  3. Santos’s avatar

    okay this conversation is going into my musical.

  4. Anthony’s avatar

    Finger clicking fight scene?


    Red beans are a boy’s best friend?

  5. Reid’s avatar


    Haha! Very funny.


    I took the easy road. I just used a can a koshian to make mine. I’ve made them using dried beans before and it takes way too much time, although I have to say that it tastes so much better.

    Don’t know about the tiny back scratcher things in the background though. I thought they were chicken feet. LOL!

  6. Santos’s avatar

    >Perhaps the closest thing I could compare it to is the pumpkin in pumpkin pie

    if you damien hirsted the pie and suspended it in jelly, maybe

    miss you can or you kanten
    sit down get down get cozy
    with my koshi-an
    have your way with meeeee
    because i am just a maaaaaan
    a thirtysomething maaaaaaan
    with a thing for your mizu youkan

  7. Santos’s avatar

    if you scratch my mizu youkan scratch anything else you like

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    Everybody listen to Reid, if you’re not sure if this is the thing for you, it could save a bit of time if you don’t like.

    Chicken feet! What about the crows feet of our inevitiable decline into old age?

    Wooh Sing it Santos!
    [enters stage right]
    Oh I like mizu youkan
    but the times my heart’s been broken
    by the red bean treats
    that walk the streets
    ‘coz you can’t trust mizu youkan

    [tap dances]

  9. Santos’s avatar

    *wow* it looks like your tap-dancing stopped the show.

  10. Anthony’s avatar

    What do you mean? I’m still at it.

    [ascends red staircase, wonders where Reid is]

  11. Anthony’s avatar

    Hmm I think he’s retired for the evening, I’ll just have to write him in before my legs give out

    Oh it’s me and I’m Hawaiian
    And I know you won’t be buyin’
    Any kinda lyin’
    That I’m not in loooooove
    With azuki based bean paste
    Oh old tarts and young crumpet
    not to blow my own trumpet
    They’re not good enough you seeee
    It’s only azuuuki
    Forrrrrr me.

  12. Stephanie’s avatar

    I’ve seen so many recipes using red bean paste in our many Asian cookbooks…but I’m still too scaredy-cat to try it.

  13. Stephanie’s avatar

    Oh – I thought those were the little rakes for those mini tranquility gardens. Guess not?

  14. Elise’s avatar

    Hi Anthony – You and Reid must be cosmically connected. Or comically connected. Wait, that would be Santos. These songs are hysterical.

  15. Anthony’s avatar

    Hi Stephanie
    There’s not a lot that can go wronf so give it a try or try some from the can first and see if you like it.

    Hello Stephanie
    Now that you mention it, maybe they are.

    Hi Elise
    Years of geographic isolation have made us sensitive to weak telepathic signals. Santos says if you invest in the musical now, you can have 60% of profits. Oh 66% Reid.

  16. shina’s avatar

    ♪Oishii~ Mizu yooo~~~~~ kaa~~~~nn

    An, or red-bean thingy is so yummy.
    And ‘Doraemon'(robot cat has 4-D pocket) loves “dorayaki”. It’s also my favorite – oishii desu yo.

  17. deborah’s avatar

    All this talk about red beans makes me want to reach for one of those three bean jelly drinks you get in Vietnamese restuarants.

  18. Reid’s avatar

    Hi Anthony…and Santos,

    You two just kill me. There is no way that I could keep up with your singing into the late night hours. I have to sleep sometime you know….

  19. Santos’s avatar

    >you can have 60% of profits. Oh 66% Reid.

    there you go, pimping reid out again. piece by piece.

    it’s just so fine
    that this ‘strine
    found a hawaiii’in
    who knows how to grapple
    a thorny pineapple
    and has a way with adzuki–
    no flukey!–beeeeans.

  20. Anthony’s avatar

    Honyaku konnyaku wa benri deshou!
    You know it’s amazing how widespread the red beans are in Asia yet almost completely unknown here. I mean it’s kinda like not knowing what chocolate is.
    At your service. Due to the wonders of the Earth’s rotation, while you’re sleeping, Perth is still rocking.
    Reid knows which way his bread’s buttered.
    Well did you say beans
    [santos: yep]
    Well I guess that’s odd
    ‘coz I was thinking about peas in a pod.
    Though I am Slavic and he’s Yamato
    Blagodarya and arigato
    The differences are just in our genes
    No more than a hillll of beans
    Beans Beans
    You know what I mean.

    [cue kabuki minstrels singing mame! how I love you…]

  21. Santos’s avatar

    when will you be freed, reid?
    he said it was fate so you’d take the bait
    smooth just like honey, but he was just being funny
    he wants your money, not your mame!!

  22. Anthony’s avatar

    If he were Alexander Bell,
    you’d say don’t call.
    If he were Edmund Hillary
    you’d say don’t fall.
    Lindberg, take the boat.
    Lady Godiva, wear a coat.
    Every oppportunity’s a but
    You’re plainly coconot not coconut
    Now you can be like Nancy and say no
    Or maybe now it’s time to sago.

    [jumps on street car]

  23. The Daily Magnet’s avatar

    omg, it’s spice-T – Anthony you’re a rapper!

  24. Anthony’s avatar

    More ~stein than MC~ I’d hope.

  25. Reid’s avatar

    By the way, I was in hiding….

  26. Santos’s avatar

    …with a giant steel trap.

  27. Reid’s avatar

    I swear I’m being sabotaged. I’ve been leaving comments here only to have them not show up!

    I guess I better go and crawl under the covers now.

  28. Anthony’s avatar

    Sabotage makes me think of moustaches.

    You’re not telling us that the missing stanzas are out their floating in the computernet somewhere? Put out an APB.

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