- Main lore areas
Eastern area of the prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Red beans, round rice cake
- History/origin/related events
There is a zoni in which rice cakes are put into azuki beans simmered for a little less sweetness. On New Year's Day, people eat "Sumashi-zoni" with iwanori seaweed in it, and in some areas they start eating "Azuki-zoni" on January 2. There is a tradition of using round rice cakes. This zoni is characterized by its light sweetness in comparison to “Zenzai” or “Oshiruko” (sweet azuki bean soup), although it looks similar in appearance to them. The tenth month of the old calendar in the Izumo region is the month of Kamiari-zuki, when the gods gather from all over the country. “Azuki-zoni” was served as "Jinzai-mochi” during the "Kamiari-sai" ritual held during this period. It is said that "Jinzai-mochi” is the origin of the word "Zenzai".
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
"Azuki Zoni" was made using wakamizu (water drawn for the first time on New Year's Day) offered by the patriarch of the family to the local deity. Two rice cakes are served in a bowl. Zoni also serves as an offering, and the bowl is offered without changing during the three days of the New Year.
Azuki beans are also used in the zoni because a single pod can yield many beans, which is a symbolic wish for the prosperity of one's offspring.
Around Lake Shinshiko, azuki beans were often used to make an an (sweet red bean paste) or to add to "sekihan (red rice)".
- How to eat
To avoid crushing the azuki grains, make the dish light and refreshing.
Put azuki beans in a pot filled with plenty of water and simmer slowly over low heat. When the azuki grains are crushed, add sugar and adjust the sweetness to your liking. At this point, a pinch of salt may be added to taste.
Some households add soup stock when simmering azuki. Since azuki is cooked with less sweetness, sugar may be added to taste after serving in bowls. The red beans are seasoned with miso or soy sauce according to the family's preference.
As in the case of "sumashi zoni," round rice cakes are generally used. If the rice cake is boiled separately from the soup, it is easier to eat without becoming too soft.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
The "Lake Shinji West Bank Rural Improvement Promotion Council" is working to establish Izumo azuki as a new crop for promotion. It aims to improve the quality of azuki beans by providing opportunities for exchange with producers in Kyoto Prefecture. In 2018 (Heisei 30), the "Azuki Mini Summit in Izumo" was held in Izumo City with the aim of raising the production motivation of producers.
There are also examples of azuki cultivation and product development by local high schools that have been selected as designated schools for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's "Project to Promote High School Education Reform in Collaboration with the Local Community.