Mizuyoukan - Azuki Bean Jello

I have had some heavy news lately with people around me and their health.  It really reminded me that we are all fragile creatures at the end of the day....

A while back I started to cook much healthier and I started this blog in a way to keep records of what I cook for my family.  I don't want to be paranoid about food and worry every time I eat something - and I'm not - but there are times like now that I'm reminded to be cautious and am responsible for keeping my family healthy, as the main shopper and cook of the family.

So I thought to make this dessert called Mizuyokan.  It's a jellied dessert made with pureed azuki beans (aka. red beans), sugar and agar agar. This was one of my favorite summer desserts when I was small.  I almost never eat this anymore as I don't see it at the shops here and it's not something that people make at home very often.  But it's so simple to make, as simple as making jello.  

I knew azuki beans are very nutritious and this site explains why.  Also I think agar agar is a much healthier alternative for gelatin.  Agar agar is made from seaweed called algae, where as gelatin is made from animal skins and bones.  Since I am on a health kick a little more than usual, I made this with raw agave syrup instead of cane sugar.  All organic.

I'm not a big fan of heavy red bean desserts.  This dessert is also made with lots of water like jello and is very light.  I think that's why I liked it so much when I was a child.  

Eating this Mizuyoukan with a cup of maccha green tea lifted my heart a little and brought a little peace back to me for sure. 

Recipe: serves 6

For mizuyokan:

1 cup azuki paste (homemade paste recipe below)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons agar agar (powder kanten)
1 cup  raw agave syrup (or sugar)

Pour 2 cups water and 2 tablespoons agar agar in a medium pan and mix well.  Put the pan over medium high heat and stir until agar agar is completely dissolved.  Let the water cool down before adding to blender.  In blender, put azuki paste, agar agar water, 1 teaspoon salt and 2/3 cups agave syrup.  Blend until smooth for less than a minute.  Use the strainer and pour the mixture into molds or cups.  Let them cool in the refrigerator for an hour.

For pureed azuki paste:

1/2 cup azuki beans
4 cups water
1 cup agave syrup (or sugar)
1 teaspoon salt

Soak azuki beans in water overnight.  Drain water next day.  Put soaked beans into medium size pan.  Cover with 4 cups of water and cook over medium heat until the beans are soft.  Stir occasionally.  This might take up to 45-60 minutes or so.

Drain the water in sink.  In a food processor, add cooked beans, salt and agave syrup. Puree the beans.

You might have a little more than you need to make 6 servings.  You can freeze the extra paste.


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