Anpan is a popular Japanese sweet dish which is famous for its soft and fluffy texture. It is basically a red bean paste rolled into the round shaped bun. The word comes from “an” meaning sweet bean paste and “pan” meaning bread. It is available in many famous bakeries in Japan and some other countries too, which severs the Japanese food. The amazing thing about this sweet dish is that red beans are usually salty and they are wrapped into the soft buns in the form of a thick red paste. These buns are then garnished with either black cumin or cumin powder.
1. History of Anpan
This red paste bun was first invented in 1875 by a samurai person known as Mr. Kimura. Mr. Kimura decided to introduce this yummy and fluffy bread when he lost his job because of certain crisis. He decided to open a bakery and invent this bread which is filled with red bean paste.
- Name of Mr. Kimura’s Bakery: Kimuraya Bakery
- Type: Traditional Japanese sweet dish
- Main ingredient: Bread
2. Represents Japanese Culture
Anpan is not just a sweet dish but it also represents the traditional Japanese culture. If we dig into the little history, at first there was no concept of Bread, Mr. Kimura was the first person who introduced it and it was considered as western, but later on it got merged with the traditional culture and start representing it.
- Got rise in: This sweet bread got rise in Meiji period which was the period of westernization
- First name of the bakery: Bun’eidō
3. Anpan is not just a dish
It would be wrong to consider Anpan a Japanese dish only. This dish has influenced the Japanese culture also and its impact can easily be seen. There are certain movies and even some painters which were named after this dish. It has influenced some other forums too which makes the history of this dish more interesting.
- Use of word Anpan: It’s a recreational slang for paint thinner.
- Anime Anpan: Superhero in the movie
- Anime Anpan: Superhero in the movie named Anpanman: There is also a Japanese picture book of children with the name of the same character.
- It is also considered as a ritual dish.
4. Can be made at home easily
Anpan can easily be made at home with few basic ingredients which can be found anywhere. This basic ingredient that is necessary for this dish is flour and red beans. Flour with some other ingredients for the making of bread. Bread is an easy part whereas making the red bean paste is quite tricky and time-consuming.
There is not only a one way of making this sweet dish. You can always manipulate the ingredients according to your own taste. Here is the list of those ingredients:
- 200ml milk, lukewarm
- 5g active dry yeast
- 30g sugar
- 240g bread flour
- 60g cake flour
- 5g salt
- 10g dry milk powder
- 30g butter, room temperature
- egg wash: 1 egg plus pinch of salt, mixed well
- black sesame seeds
Here are the instructions that can help you to make the dish:
- Put lukewarm milk, yeast, and sugar in a stand mixer bowl, then whisk well. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Combine bread flour and cake flour, and add to the milk mixture. Add salt and milk powder, and start the mixer kneading with a dough hook at medium speed.
- When the dough is becoming a ball (after about 8 minutes), add soft butter and knead for another 4-5 minutes until the butter is completely incorporated. Cover with plastic, and leave in a warm place about 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
- Make balls of Anko, each 1.5″ (or 4cm) in diameter and about 1 1/4oz (or 35g).
- Take the dough and deflate the gas from the dough. Put on to a cutting board, and cut into 8 equal pieces about 2.5oz (or 70g) each. Form into small balls. Let them rest for 15 minutes covered.
- Flatten a ball of dough with a rolling pin to a 4″ (or 10cm) round. Put a ball of Anko in the center of the round, wrap with dough, and pinch the ends of the dough so that the Anko is sealed inside the dough ball. Repeat for remaining dough and Anko.
- Place shaped dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper leaving 2″ (or 5cm) space between the balls. Brush egg wash (the mixture of egg with a pinch of salt) on the surface of the dough, and sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top. Leave them to double in size, about 1 hour.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400F(205C) for about 10 minutes until they brown.
- Cooking time: 2 hours 30 mints
- For cooking: Use pressure cooker
- You can also use green or other beans instead of red beans for the making of the paste.
5. Compliments with Tea
This famous Japanese sweet dish can be served with Green Tea. It gives this dish a new orientation and adds more taste to the dish and compliments with it. This dish can be served with other beverages also but it is said that it fits best with the traditional Japanese green tea.
- Compliments best with: Green tea
- Green Tea: Is made up of green leaves and herbs.
Anpan will always be considered as the special and traditional kind of sweet dish of Japan. It is made up of some basic ingredients but tastes like heaven to Japanese people. Anpan is not of one kind there are several kinds of anpan which are available in the Japanese markets or bakeries and they are quite distinguishable taste. The price of the bread is kept at a low level so each and every person can taste this delicious sweet dish. The bakery which started the business of anpan got a lot of popularity because this dish was according to the dish buds of Japanese people.
Have a good trip and travel!