I hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas! My husband and I have been recovering from a wonderful trip to Tokyo a few weeks ago, so the holidays definitely snuck up on us this year! Did you enjoy Chicken Karaage or KFC style chicken as your Christmas meal? New Years is just around the corner, and with it comes all the delicious foods to celebrate with, called osechi-ryōri (お節料理) or just osechi.
There is a lot that encompasses osechi, and each dish encompasses some symbolism or superstition to bring good luck and happiness. The dish I’m sharing with you today, sekihan, is really just synonymous with celebrating. In fact, saying “Let’s have sekihan” is another way of saying “Let’s celebrate”. In that regard, it’s a perfect dish to serve not only on New Year’s, but any festive occasion.
Sekihan literally means red rice, and traces back to historical Japan, where the rice was actually more reddish. Now the beans are used instead to color the rice red. It can be served hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with gomashio (sesame salt), and some regions like to add a little sugar or use anko to sweeten the dish!
As with all rice recipes, using a rice cooker definitely eases some of the process, so if you have one, use your rice cooker’s measurements to cook it properly. But if you don’t have one, follow my instructions below! Getting the water proportions can be a little finicky, so do take care measuring out the water!
Recipe – Sekihan (Azuki Beans and Rice):
– Rinse off the azuki beans and soak in a bowl of water overnight. The beans will double in size, so be sure to use a large enough bowl.
– Mix together both types of rice and let soak for 30 minutes.
– While the rice is soaking, prepare the beans. Rinse off the beans, then place in a small pot and add about 3 cups water, enough to fully cover the beans. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes, until the beans can be easily smashed with your fingers.
– Drain the beans, but reserve the water. Set the beans aside in a covered container so the beans don’t become dry.
– After the rice has soaked, rinse the rice several times, gently rubbing with your hands. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear. Drain thoroughly.
– Add the rice to a small pot and add 2.5 cups of the reserved water. Add more regular water if you don’t have quite enough reserved water. Add the beans and salt, then cover and bring to a bowl. Once boiling, turn heat down to low and cook for 25 minutes.
– Remove from heat and let sit an additional 10 minutes to rest.
– Stir carefully, folding it into itself instead of smashing the grains, then sprinkle with sesame and additional salt to serve.