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Following is a recipe for zenzai, a dessert of azuki beans, believed in ancient Japan to have the power to dispel evil and diseases.

Zenzai (Red Bean Dessert)

"The Legacy of the Japanese in Hawaii: Cuisine"

1 8-ounce package azuki beans
2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
10 cubes of mochi or dango (dumplings)Wash azuki beans.

  • Cover with water; let stand overnight. Drain water, replacing with four times more water than beans. Bring to a boil; remove scum.
  • Cover and simmer until tender. If there is too much liquid remaining when azuki is cooked, remove the excess. Add sugar and cook about 1 hour. Add salt and cook a few minutes longer.
  • To 3 cups seasoned azuki, add 3 cups of hot water. Mix well and bring to a boil Add more sugar if desired.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water and add gradually to boiling azuki sauce.
    Broil mochi cubes.
  • Place 2 cubes in a bowl and pour azuki sauce over. Serve hot.

Serves 5.