Peach Nerikiri (Japanese Sweet Bean Paste Confectionery)

Or how to waste 1.5 hours of your life mashing beans.

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It’s Hina-Matsuri today in Japan! Or Girls’ Day/Doll Festival.

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I’ve always wanted to try making wagashi, or traditional Japanese confections. And since Hina-Matsuri is also called Momo-no-Sekku (Peach Festival), I thought it’d be perfect to start off simple with some basic nerikiri shaped like a peach.

This is a really dumbed-down recipe and the technique is probably not traditional in the slightest. But hey gotta start somewhere.

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Don’t mind this awkwardly placed ball of clingfilm.

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Nerikiri is made of shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste) mixed with some shiratamako (mochi flour, see notes). If you’ve tried red bean paste before, I feel like shiro-an has a bit of a more delicate flavour, and is less earthy.

Also although mochi flour is mixed in, it really does not have the texture of mochi. It legitimately tastes like sweetened beans mushed together, which is a common motif in Asian desserts. If you’ve not tried sweetened bean paste before I recommend giving it a try, it opens up a whole new world of dessert.

If the peaches at the back looks uglier, that’s because they were made by me and not my more artistic housemate.

peach-nerikiri

This peach nerikiri is also cute because it looks like a butt.

I combined the recipes from here and here.

Ingredients (makes 3)

Shiro-an (sweetened white bean paste)

  • 1 can cannellini beans (235g dried weight)
  • 75g granulated sugar

Nerikiri

  • 150g shiro-an
  • 12g shiratamako (mochi flour/sweet glutinous rice flour, see notes)
  • 20g water
  • Red food colouring
  • Leaves for decorating (I used watercress, lol)

Method

Shiro-an

  1. Drain the beans thoroughly and mash through a strainer. Apparently this step is easier if you skin the beans first but it was honestly a pain and it was easier to just start mashing and pick out the skins as you go. I ended up with about 190g of strained beans.
  2. Put the strained beans in a saucepan and add the sugar. Stir until thickened. The paste will cool down as it cools.

Nerikiri

  1. Mix the shiratamako with the water in a saucepan, and heat over medium heat until dissolved and well heated.
  2. Add in the shiro-an and mix until thickened to a mouldable consistency. If it’s still not mouldable after a while gradually add more shiratamako until mouldable.
  3. Separate 2/3 of the dough and set aside. Add some food colouring to the remaining 1/3 of the dough until it’s a light pink.
  4. Place a piece of clingfilm onto a work surface. Add a piece of white dough onto the clingfilm, and a smaller piece of the pink dough next to it. Gather the loose ends of the clingfilm into a ball and mould into a peach shape (or if you suck at crafting like me, get your housemate to do it). Use the clingfilm and a back of a spoon to help smooth the surface out.
  5. Use the back of a knife to indent the dough midway, creating the seam of the peach.
  6. Use any appropriate leaves for decoration. You should probably not eat them together with the nerikiri it’s just to look pretty.

Notes

  • I used a Chinese type of glutinous rice flour, and did not reach the desired mouldable consistency with the amounts recommended. Just needed a bit more to reach the right texture. It’s probably because mochi flour may be slightly different and more appropriate, so I’d recommend going for that if it’s available.
  • If you like sweet beans like me, here are some green tea buns with sweetened red bean filling that I’ve made before.
  • I actually made twice the amount of shiro-an as listed in this recipe (for an upcoming recipe!), that’s why I took 1.5 hours. I was also watching some serious anime so you’d probably take less time than me don’t be alarmed.
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