Trail RecipesBy Akira Suzuki
Boiled azuki (sweet red bean)
Azuki is known for being served at celebrations and commemorative events throughout Japan, a mix of azuki and rice being a typical favorite. It is quite common in Japan for the bean to be featured in a variety of desserts, usually in the form of a boiled paste known as “an” or “anko.” Most Japanese grow to love the delicacy from a very young age.
However, non-Japanese, particularly North Americans and Europeans, often find the boiled and sweetened bean less appetizing. Although I’ve not confirmed this specifically with other O.J. editors, many of my foreign friends say, “You don’t boil and sweeten beans.”
Actually, many older Japanese would say the same things about dishes such as rice pudding where the cornerstone of the Japanese diet, rice, is boiled and sweetened. When posed the same question, most respond in a similar manner to their international counterparts, “To boil and sweeten Japan’s food staple is sinful.”
I’m Japanese and, although I must admit I have a penchant for rice pudding, regardless of who you talk to, the way people respond to the treatment of their beloved foods is extremely interesting to me.
Azuki waffles are good for both after-dinner desserts or in-the-field pack food, and it’s also a good test for foreigners to see how truly comfortable they are with Japanese tastes. No matter from where they come, if someone can gulp this down and sing its praises, they are truly Japanese – at least in the culinary sense.
Mix the waffle mix and milk according to the directions, then stir in the azuki. Grease the waffle iron with the salad oil.
Pour in the mixture and be sure to cook both sides. If you prefer an even sweeter sensation, top off with kuromitsu (black sweet sauce).