Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Red rice, eaten on festive occasions. 赤飯。

Obtained by steaming azuki beans with glutinous rice (mochigome). Often toasted black sesame seeds or gomashio (toasted sesame seeds with salt) are sprinkled lightly on top. Popular type of rice for weddings, birthdays and festivals as Shichigosan. Red is a symbol of happiness (as it is in China).

Sekihan is usually served in lunch boxes and eaten at room temperature. It is also used as an offer to the gods, by placing it in small bowls on the family shrine for the ancestors.

Technically, the rice is colored red by using the reddish water in which the azuki beans have been cooked. The beans are not cooked until they are soft, but just for 10 min. as they will later be steamed. So normally a lot of the cooking water is left for soaking the rice. The rice is soaked overnight or even longer, up to 24 hours. Finally, the rice which now has a pinkish color and the beans are mixed and steamed at high heat for about 40 min in metal or bamboo steamer.

The taste is quite sweet and that is why it is a good idea to add the salt gomashio.