How to make Japanese Red Bean Soup ”Zenzai”~おいしいおぜんざいの作り方~

Posted on Posted in Japanese traditional recipes, treats

Today, I will show you how to make Red Bean Soup, in Japanese “Zenzai”.

Red bean is used to so many kinds of Japanese sweets.  Red Bean Soup is the most simple way to enjoy red bean, and usually eat on a cold winter day during the new year. It is hearty and so comfortable!

I like the texture of the skin so I leave it as it is.  Seive a fine mesh strainer if you want it silky smooth.

★How to make Red Bean Soup★

Ingredients for 4 to 6
150g red bean
100g granulated sugar ※you can use any types of sugar.  I think granulated sugar gives a simple sweetness without adding any flavor.
A pinch of salt
3 tablespoon Kuromame ※leftover from Osechi

1. Wash and drain the red bean. Put in a heavy bottom pan and pour a generous amount of water. Turn on the heat to high, and bring it to a boil.

2. Drain and wash the bean and the pot. This step remove bitterness from the skin. Pour generous amount of water again and turn the heat to high.

3. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and put the lid on. Add some water every 15 to 20 minutes.

4. When it becomes completely soft, turn off the heat. It will take about an hour.

5. Add sugar and kuromame, if you have left over from Osechi, bring it to a boil. Add salt to enhances the sweetness.

6. Cut your rice cake into a smaller size. This is a rice cake which is individually packed and last long. Bake in an oven toaster or grill until getting puffed and toasty outside.

7. Ladle the soup to a cup and top with rice cake. Serve immediately with salted kombu kelp.


In the old story, it is said that the red bean will take away the evil spirits.

In these days, it is said that the red bean has a high content of fiber in the skin. And it works as a detoxing agent.

I was surprised at the people in the old days know the scientific fact.

Anyways, that means Red bean work both mentally and physically.  Let’s cook and eat together with your family and friends!

I like to maintain the tradition to the next generation.   What is your new year’s tradition? Let me know!

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