Homemade anko(sweet read beans paste) depends on the sugar you use. I would like to write about different types of sugar and each compatibilities. Traditional wagashiya(Japanese sweets) shops mix various kind of sugar in order to set their own shop apart from the others.
(1) Non centrifugal sugar … Traditional sugar obtained by evaporating water from sugarcane juice. It contains only natural sugar and thereby a low sugar content. It also contains minerals and its taste is unique.
1 Cane sugar … Made of sugarcane or mostly in Okinawa. It has a slightly larger grain, darker color, and unique flavor. This sugar has a little bit too strong and prominent flavor to add in anko(sweet red beans paste). If you want to use this sugar, add a little in the last process.
2 beets sugar … Obtained by evaporating water from sugar beets which are produced in Hokkaido. It has slightly brown color and contains a lot of minerals. Get along with anko(sweet red beans paste). It turns anko(sweet red beans paste) to a little bit brown color. I recommend you use this sugar with granulated sugar, half and half.
3 Wasanbon … Japanese traditional sugar made of Chiku-tou( special sugar cane) in Tokushima and Kagawa prefecture. By sharpening with water, it has a high sugar content. It is said that anko(sweet red beans pastes) made with this sugar is most luxurious. (I’ve never used it though…)
(2) Centrifugal sugar
1 Caster sugar … The most popular kind of sugar. Because the crystals are so fine, they dissolve much quicker than the other sugars, which make it ideal for making various kind of dishes. The price is also reasonable. We use it when we make white anko(red beans paste)
2 granulated sugar …Highly refined sugar which contains larger crystal. It’s also easily dissolved. We use it in order to add sweetness in the last process.
3 soft brown sugar … Produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar. It also has unique flavor. If you use it too much, anko(red beans taste) becomes brown color
4 Coarse sugar … Produced by the addition of caramel to larger crystal than granulated sugar. It is dissolved slowly.
5 Crystal sugar … Composed of relatively large sugar crystals. Since it is dissolved slowly, some people say it is the best sugar to make anko(red beans paste) However it takes a lot of time.
(3) Other sugars
1 starch syrup … Made by converting starch to sugars. There are two different ways to make it. The traditional one is to take glutinous rice mixed with malt and let the natural enzymatic process take place. The other is to use potatoes as the starch source by adding acid. It is used to make anko(red beans pastes) with high sugar content.
2 honey …It contains a lot of fructose and glucose and vitamin. It is rarely used to make anko(red beans paste).