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My father was born and raised in the city of Hirosaki in Aomori prefecture. Sekihan (rice cooked together with red beans) in this area is sweet. Confectionery wasn't available when my father was growing up. It was customary to hold wedding receptions at home and on those occasions people would make sweet sekihan. My father looked forward to these occasions and would often visit the house where one of these celebrations was taking place. My father often makes the sweet sekihan, trying to recreate the nostalgic flavor of his mother's sekihan. When I told him that I was going to write about sekihan, he went out of his way to make it for me.
You might think that it's strange because sekihan is not usually sweet but it's really delicious. Why don't you try to make it?


(Serves 5 - 6)


Sasage beans @100g
Mochigome (glutinous rice) @4 cups
Uruchimai (nonglutinous rice)@ 1 cup
Sugar @6 tablespoons

1. Soak the sasage beans in water for about 6 hours.

2. After draining the beans, fill a saucepan with 800 cc of water. Place the beans in the water and cover with a small lid to soften the beans. Then boil for 25 minutes over a low heat. Retain the broth.

3. Rinse the mochigome and uruchimai.

4. Put 2 and 3, together with the sugar into rice cooker. Mix beans and rice well.

5. After the rice has cooked, leave to sit for a while and then mix gently. Enjoy!

Noriko Kanehira
Bunkyo Women's College