When you think of eating rice and beans, you probably picture your lunch. But in Japan, the combination of rice and beans is commonly consumed as dessert. Sweetened red azuki beans are served in a cold soup called zenzai; when served hot, this dessert is called oshiruko. Usually, mochi, or cakes of pounded glutinous rice, float in the soup. Wagashi is another type of dessert that contains rice and beans.
Often the size of petits fours, these little cakes are beautiful to look at and make a nice gift. One type of wagashi offered by the venerable Japanese confectionery Minamoto Kitchoan is called “matchamochi.” It consists of sweet red bean paste encased in a mochi cake which has been flavored with green tea. Red beans are the most common beans used in Japanese desserts, but white beans are sometimes substituted.