Tips For Making Japanese Azuki Rice

The Japanese love rice. Sekihan or Japanese Azuki Rice is one of the most famous Japanese dishes. It is a traditional dish that is made from sticky rice and azuki beans. While the rice is chewy, the beans tend to be fluffy. It is mostly used when the Japanese celebrate a special occasion. It is an easy recipe to make and can be an excellent addition to your dinner table. 

What is Sekihan?

In Japanese, Seikhan means red rice, it is a traditional dish that is only offered at festivities. For centuries, it has been said in Japanese culture that red food tends to prevent evil spirits from harming humans, and therefore, red rice is being consumed since its inception. Even today, the white short gain is replaced by the ancient red rice and combined with azuki beans. 

Traditionally, Seikihan is made from 100% glutinous rice. Not only is the rice sweet but can be heavy on the stomach as well. This is why this dish has witnessed several variations including mixing regular Japanese short-grain rice. 

Additionally, Seikhan also varies depending on the regions. While some use sugar instead of salt, others simply use beans instead of azuki beans. And, perhaps the most unique aspect of Sekihan is that it is served at room temperature. 

What are Azuki Beans?

Azuki beans are characterized by small red beans. Since it contains a high concentration of fiber, minerals, and Vitamin B, it is known to be healthy food. In the world of azuki beans, the Anko happen to be the most famous for its sweet bean paste used for wagashi. 

Generally, dried beans need to be soaked in water since they are naturally hard. However, that is not true in the case of azuki beans. The skin of azuki beans is hard so unlike other beans, it does not soak water. 

Step By Step Instructions

The first thing you need to do is quickly rinse the sticky rice and soak it in water for around 30 minutes. Then, use a pressure cooker and put azuki beans along with water while closing the lid and cook using high heat. Once the required pressure is achieved, bring down the heat and cook for around 3 minutes before turning off the heat. 

When the pressure has been released, open the lid to add rice and then close the lid to cook at high heat again. Once again when the required pressure is achieved, lower the heat and cook for nearly 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the dish to steam for 10 minutes. Using a shamoji, stir the rice. 

Final Word

If this is your first time making Japanese Azuki Rice, this guide is going to make the process as easy as it can get. You simply need to make sure that the rice you choose is not heavy on your stomach and the azuki beans are soft enough for you to consume. If you find them hard, you can soak them into the water as well or use other types of beans. Even though Sekihan is mostly offered at festivities but you can have it any day since it is an easy and simple recipe.