White Bean Paste / Shiroan

June 28, 2021

Shiroan or white bean paste is used to make beautiful Japanese sweets known as wagashi. 

What is Shiro-an?

Shiroan (白あん) means White bean paste in Japanese.

We are familiar with red bean paste known as Anko(餡子 ) used in many Japanese desserts. 
Alternative to Anko is this Shiroan.

Shiroan mainly used to make wagashi, a series of beautiful Japanese hand made dessert!
Made from Shiroan and glutinous rice flour dough known as Nerikiri (mochi type of texture).
Scroll down to view my wagashi that I make for my daughter's birthday! 

Anko, made of Adzuki beans (red bean).

Anko has strong 'bean taste'. while shiroan give a very mild subtle 'bean' taste.

How to make Shiroan?

The process of making Shiroan and Anko is the same.

The process from start to finish takes a long time,
You have to exercise some patience in making Shiroan.

Step 1 : Soak the beans at least for 4 hours.

Wash and soak white beans.
My advise is best soak overnight. 

Soak no more than 24 hours, otherwise beans will start to sprout!!!
If you not able to proceed with making shiroan, drain off the water and place the white beans in the refrigerator.

 Soaked white beans

Step 2 : Remove the skin!

I learned the hard way, I did not remove the outer skin of white beans after soaking.

Hence I had a hard time to blend and sieve the softened white beans.

Step 3 : Cooking white beans

Place the expanded white beans in a pot of tap water.
Add water to at least 1 inch above the beans.

Note : You will have to top up few times during this process.

 Cooking shiro an

Step 4 : Remove Scum

Remove any scum that form, as much as you can.

 remove scum

Step 5 : Blend

Once the beans are soft (easily squashed between 2 fingers), then they are ready for the next stage, which is to blend to a smooth paste.

This was where I had trouble getting a smooth paste, due to the white beans skin!!!
 Blend white beans

Step 6 : Sieve 

This may look tedious but necessary for a smooth paste (at later stage)

Sieve the beans, using water to ease the process, pushed the beans through the sieve.
Note : Please do not let water to overflow, all you hard will definitely goes down the drain!!!

 Pushing white beans through a sieve

Step 7 : Sedimentation process

Sedimentation process is to let the bean paste settle at the bottom of the bowl.
This may take up to 15 minutes.

Then gently drain off the water.
I repeat this process 3 times (but you can get away with One!!)

 Shiroan going through sedimentation process

Step 8 : Strain Shiroan

After step 7, use some clean cloth (not torn or tattered).
Place the cloth over sieve, and sieve over a steady heavy bowl.

Pour the shiroan onto the cloth.
Leave for a while, to let as much water to drain off as possible.

 Sieve shiroanWhite bean paste

Step 9 : Squeeze out excess water 

This steps require some strength.
Making sure that the cloth is secure, squeeze as much water as possible from Step 8 above.

The lesser the water content in the shiroan, the lesser time you will spent cooking shiroan over the stove.
Squeeze out water from shiroanمعجون

Step 10 : Cooking Shiroan

Next step is to add sugar.

Place the ball of shiroan into a clean pot. 
Add sugar.
Once sugar is added, shiroan will look a little bit wetter.
Not to worry, keep on cooking until shiroan.

Keep on cooking on medium heat and keep on stirring as the paste may easily burn at the bottom of the pan.

Shiroan is ready when you are able to draw a line using the spatula at the bottom of the pan.
Remove from heat immediately, as evaporation process is still happening.

Transfer to another bowl.

Can I use pressure cooker to cook white beans?

Yes, definitely makes cooking white bean a breeze.

I would first take off the membrane after soaking, then I would give these white beans a quick boil in a saucepan,

Leave the beans to boil for at least 5 minutes. You will see some foam forming on the surface.
Take off the heat and give it a good rinse.

Transfer to pressure cooker, add water and cook the white beans for at least 15 minutes.

I would then use a stick blender and blend the beans to a watery paste.

Proceed from step 6 onwards to make shiro-an.

How to keep Shiroan?

After the laborious work of boiling the beans, making into paste, I would then divide Shiroan into 100g.
Wrap them up in cling wrap, put them in zip lock bag and place in the freezer.

Do not forget to write down the date too :).

Thaw how many grams or packet you plan to use.

What is Shiroan used for?

Shiroan is mainly used to make wagashi, dainty and delicate Japanese sweet, that is so pretty to look at too. 
Almost too pretty to eat.
 Japanese sweets

Other Recipes using beans.

Some of recipe that you may wish to substitute red bean paste (Anko) with white bean paste (Shiroan)

A quick Video on How to Make Shiro-an / Japanese white bean paste

 Shiroan or white bean paste is sweet wth smooth texture and often used in Japanese dessert.