All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Shiroan / sweetened white bean paste

This silky bean paste goes into a number of Japanese sweets. Making it involves a series of time-consuming yet simple tasks, but the results are very satisfying.


(Makes approx. 500 g shiroan)

200 g lima beans
150 g sugar


Soak lima beans in plenty of water overnight.


Peel off skin.


Place lima beans and water in a pot, and bring to boil on high heat.

Once boiling, reduce heat to medium, and boil for 5 minutes.
Repeat the same process (boiling and draining) one or two times.  

Put beans and water in a pot, bring water to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until beans crumble, about 30-40 minutes.
Skim often while simmering.
(Beans easily crumble)


Puree beans.


Strain through sieve or fine-mesh strainer.

Discard any solids left in sieve or strainer.


When beans sink toward the bottom, discard water by tilting container or scooping water with ladle.


Add water, mix, let beans sink, and discard water.

Repeat the process until water becomes clear, after 5 times or so. 


Place a cloth in strainer, and strain bean + water mixture.
Wring hard to get rid of excess water. 


Empty bean paste in a pan, and add sugar.

Mix well with spatula, and cook on medium low heat.
The bean paste seems dry at the beginning but does contain lots of water, and soon the mixture will loosen up.

Stir mixture until it thickens somewhat, about 10 minutes.


Remove from heat, divide into small mounds on a plate, and let cool.


When completely cool, wrap with plastic film, and freeze (or refrigerate).

  • Skimming while cooking beans and changing water after straining are both done to achieve a paler white color in the finished paste.
  • In most recipes, sugar equivalent to 80-100% of the dry weight of white beans is added.

Recipes with shiroan

(Last updated: August 24, 2017)

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