------------------------ ---------------------------------------------------


Anko's Red Bean Soup


Anko is drinking red bean soup out of a can and eating dango (rice dumplings) in Naruto episode 29.

Red bean soup originates from China and is often served at the end of a Chinese banquet for weddings and 1 month-birthday celebrations for infants because of its red color which symbolizes luck, happiness and wealth. The canned version is usually thinner. This is a wonderful dessert that you can serve hot or cold. You can also use mung beans instead of red beans.

Recipe 1
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
1 cup red beans (soaked in cold water overnight)
1/3 cup dried lotus seeds (at asian grocery stores or health food stores, soaked in cold water overnight) or fresh, vacuum packed lotus seeds if you can get them
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup tapioca (optional)
7 cups water
1. Combine water and beans in a large pot, bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to simmer, cook uncovered till beans are tender (about 2 hours).
3. Add lotus seed and sugar (plus tapioca if you choose to), cook until soup thickens a little and lotus seeds are tender, but not mushy (20 minutes).
4. Add vanilla, serve hot for a perfect winter dessert, or you can let the soup cool down, then add ice.
5. With this basic recipe, you can take out all the beans, increase the amount of lotus seeds and have a lotus seed sweet soup instead.

From: recipezaar.com

Recipe 2
1 1/2 ounces (50 grams) tinned lotus nuts (optional)
8 ounces (250 grams) red azuki beans
1 strip dried tangerine peel (or substitute fresh orange peel)
4 cups water
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar

Rinse the azuki beans, then soak in cold water for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain. Bring a pot with 4 cups of water to boil. Add the azuki beans and tangerine or orange peel, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for an hour. Add the lotus nuts and simmer for another hour. Once the beans are tender and as soft as they are going to get (just starting to break apart) add the sugar. Stir until dissolved. Serve hot.

*Use brown instead of white sugar
*Other versions of this dish are made with lotus roots or lily bulbs.

(This recipe is adapted from The Food of China: Authentic Recipes from the Middle Kingdom, published by Periplus Editions)

Note: The lotus seeds and tangerine give the red bean soup extra flavor. Tapioca or rice balls make it thicker and becomes a heavier dessert.

Recipe 3 Our Simple version (good for popsicles and ice shavers)
Buy a 8 oz can of red beans and a vacuum package of fresh lotus seed. Add a few crushed lotus seeds and the red beans to 4 cups boiling water, boil for 20 minutes, then add cup sugar and orange extract or vanilla extract. (We like almond extract and no lotus seeds.)
Alternative: replace 2 cups water with 2 cups milk, increase sugar to -1 cup. Put in freezer in popsicle tray or in ice cube trays. You can use an ice shaver machine for a real treat.

Recipe 4: Our Super Simple Version
Buy a can of red bean soup from Asian supermarket, open with can opener and heat or chill in a bowl!