Beans?! In oats?!?!
To anyone unfamiliar with red bean paste (anko), it is a sweet confection in Japanese cuisine (and aparently Korean, according to the can of paste I found; clearly I have more to learn). It takes azuki (red) beans and boils and sweetens them just enough to make it a dessert (but like most Japanese treats, it’s not that sweet). It can be prepared chunky (tsubuan) or pureed into a fine paste (koshian).
While it may seem trippy to put beans in a dessert, when you consider what it is and what it becomes, it’s really not much different than something like marzipan. Or brownies made from black beans. Or “cookie dough” dip made from chickpeas. At the end of the day, it’s just a sweet paste, but it does (intentionally) retain its ~bean~ flavor.
It has been months since I’ve wanted to do some anko recipes, but gosh darn it, that stuff is kind of hard to find! I probably could have found it faster if I had gone to an Asian market, but I was convinced that this type of ingredient should be available at Whole Foods. Right? I think so.
In the end, I ended up finding this can at a grocery store in some remote location of Brooklyn during a 3-mile walk on a Friday afternoon. As you can see, mine is “Korean” and has chestnuts in it–close enough. It tasted like any other red bean paste I’ve ever had. Anyway, now that I’ve found it, prepare for a slew of Japanese dessert-inspired recipes!
You can, of course, make your own anko, but given my lack of familiarity with the product (I’ve only had it once, in mochi), I kind of wanted someone else to make it for me, at least for now!
This particular recipe might be a great option for red bean paste newbies, since the paste will be mixed into oatmeal, a familiar base, thus making it a bit less concentrated in flavor and texture.
Always one to find ways to use persimmons in oatmeal, I grated the persimmon in with the red bean paste, as well as saved some to be diced on top. Whenever I make a recipe with persimmon, I always use diced persimmon on top. Not only is diced persimmon visually appealing (such a great color!), but it improves the overall flavor of the porridge. Persimmon has a subtle taste, so you honestly need to use it as a topping to actually taste it. 🙂
- [reads] this collection of maps from Buzzfeed is really informative
- [reads] this throwback article of mine: “What Each Mean Girl Character Would Be Like As A Vegan”
What you'll need:
- 3/4 cup milk of choice*
- 1/4 cup quick cook steel cut oats*
- 1 ripe persimmon (fuyu recommended)
- 3 tbsp red bean paste
- maple syrup, if desired
- pinch of salt
How to make it:
- Bring milk to a boil, add oats, and reduce heat to medium. (If you'd like to add a teaspoon of flax or chia seeds, do so now.)
- Cut the persimmon into thirds. Dice one third and set aside (for topping). Grate or puree the remaining two-thirds and stir into the oatmeal.
- Once more of the liquid has absorbed, add red bean paste, and salt. If desired, add maple syrup to taste. Stir.
- When you're pleased with the consistency of the oatmeal, transfer to a bowl. Add a splash of your milk of choice, reserved diced persimmon, and any other additional toppings (shredded coconut, sesame seeds, fresh berries or lychees, nuts, etc.).
Just an FYI:
*You can make this with rolled or quick oats by increasing the liquid to 1 cup and the oats to 1/2 cup.