Red bean soup refers to a number of traditional Asian soups, all made with azuki beans.
In China, red bean soup is a popular dish. The soup is commonly thinner than the Japanese oshiruko version. It is categorized as a tang shui, (literally translated as sugar water), or sweet soup. It is often served cold during the summer, and hot in the winter. Leftover red bean soup can also be frozen to make ice pops.
It is one of the main desserts offered after Cantonese cuisine meals in restaurants at night. When served, it is plain most of the time. The fancier restaurants may offer red bean soup with sago (西米, pinyin: xī mi). The two types of sugar used interchangeably are rock sugar and sliced sugar (片糖).
Shiruko (汁粉), or oshiruko (お汁粉) with the honorific "o" (お), is a traditional Japanese dessert. It is a sweet porridge of azuki beans boiled and crushed, served in a bowl with mochi. There are different styles of shiruko, such as shiruko with chestnuts, or with glutinous rice flour dumplings instead of mochi.
There are two types of shiruko based on difference of cooking way of azuki beans. Azuki beans could be turned into paste, crushed without keeping its original shape, or paste and roughly crushed beans are mixed. There is a similar dish, zenzai (善哉、ぜんざい), which is made from condensed paste with heat and is less watery than shiruko, like making jam or marmalade. In Western Japan, Zenzai refers to a type of shiruko made from mixture of paste and crushed beans. In Okinawa Prefecture, the term "zenzai" commonly refers to this bean soup served over shaved ice with "mochi". Other toppings, such as sweetened condensed milk, are occasionally added for flavor.
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