Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Japanese/ Lunch/ Recipes/ Side Dish/ Snack

Sekihan – Japanese Red Bean Sticky Rice

16/09/2022

Try this easy rice cooker method for sekihan – Japanese red bean rice – no soaking required! Serve this bright and colourful dish for family celebrations or use it to make pink onigiri rice balls!

Pink sticky rice and red beans garnished with black sesame seeds in a blue bowl.

Why We Love This

The gorgeous pink sticky rice and perfect al dente red beans in sekihan are so satisfying and are so versatile too. You can serve it as a main, as a side dish alongside miso soup, as a lunchbox filler or even as cute hand-formed onigiri rice balls

This festive Japanese rice dish is deliciously filling and delicately seasoned with gomashio (black sesame seeds mixed with salt), though you could use furikake rice seasoning if you prefer. 

Related: Daifuki Mochi Rice Cakes / Anko Red Bean Paste

Close up shot of freshly cooked sticky rice with red beans.

What is Sekihan? 

Sekihan or osekihan (せきはん / 赤飯) means red rice or rice with red beans. There are similar versions known as patbap in Korea or hóngdòu fàn in China.  

This dish consists of Japanese sticky rice and boiled adzuki beans. When cooked together with the water from boiling the beans, the rice takes on its classic pinkish red colour. 

Sekihan is usually served at room temperature with a simple gomashio seasoning. It can also be formed up into onigiri rice balls, with or without a slice of nori seaweed, or as part of a bento box for lunch.

In Japan, you can buy pre-made sekihan from convenience stores like 7-Eleven or Family Mart.

Chopsicks picking up a mouthful of sekihan out of a bowl.

What You’ll Need

  • Sticky Rice – The traditional rice used in sekihan is a Japanese sticky rice called mochigome (もち米). This is a short grain glutinous rice which can sometimes be harder to track down outside of Japan, so feel free to sub with Thai sticky rice (glutinous rice) instead. We don’t recommend using sushi rice or regular rice, as they wouldn’t give the same sticky texture in the final dish.
  • Adzuki Beans – Also known as azuki beans or red beans, these are small red beans with a thin white stripe down one side. Avoid red kidney beans (which can also be known as red beans), as they won’t give you the same flavour. We boil the beans first to help achieve the perfect al dente texture while saving time, however more traditionally they’re soaked overnight to soften before being cooked with the sticky rice. Did you know: In Japan, you can even buy cans of pre-cooked adzuki beans to save time when making sekihan!
  • Gomashio – AKA Japanese sesame salt. This is added as a garnish once cooked. You can make your own gomashio, buy it from Asian groceries or order some online.
Ingredients laid out for Japanese sekihan.

How to Make Japanese Red Bean Sticky Rice:

  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the adzuki beans with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Drain.
  2. Add 2 cups of water to the adzuki beans and bring back to the boil. Then reduce to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and allow to cool (around 30 minutes – 1 hour) in the remaining liquid (this will be used to colour and cook with the rice).
  1. Place the glutinous rice in the rice cooker bowl. Wash and drain with water until the water runs clear (around 2-3 times).
  2. Pour in the cooled adzuki beans and liquid over the rice, then fill up to the 2 1/2 cup point in your rice cooker with water.
  3. Cook according to your rice cooker instructions, then serve hot or cold with a garnish of gomashio.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Rice Seasoning – If you know you like rice seasoned with salt, you can add 1/2 tsp of salt in with the sticky rice and red bean before cooking.
  • Storage – Leftover sekihan will last a few days in the fridge in an airtight container. You can also freeze leftovers for a month or two.

FAQs

What else could I serve with sekihan?

Sekihan is normally served on its own or with a light sprinkling of gomashio. If you’d like to serve it in a bento box, it pairs perfectly with small portions of hiyayakko cold tofu or agedashi fried tofu, takuan pickles, kinpira gobo, wafu salad or even a few pieces of tori karaage fried chicken.

In Japan, red bean rice is sometimes used as the filling in bamboo wrapped sticky rice dumplings known as chimaki.

Variations

  • Lighter Rice – Swap out half of the sticky rice for sushi rice. This will make the sekihan less sticky and lighter on the stomach.
Bowl of sekihan with chopsticks in the background.

More amazing rice recipes from around the world:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Close up shot of freshly cooked sehikan.

Sekihan – Japanese Red Bean Sticky Rice

Try this easy rice cooker method for sekihan – Japanese red bean rice – no soaking required! Serve this bright and colourful dish for family celebrations or use it to make pink onigiri rice balls!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 188kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 280 g glutinous rice (2 rice cooker cups / 9.87 oz) aka sticky rice / mochigome (もち米 ),
  • 70 g adzuki beans (½ rice cooker cup / 2.46 oz)
  • 2 cups water plus more for cooking and washing rice

Instructions

Note this recipe uses RICE cups for the beans and rice. Not full cups.

A rice cooker cup measurement is approx. ¾ cup.

  • In a medium saucepan, cover the adzuki beans with water and bring to the boil over high heat. Drain.
    70 g adzuki beans
  • Add 2 cups of water to the adzuki beans and bring back to the boil. Then reduce to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool (around 30 minutes – 1 hour) in the remaining liquid (this will be used to colour and cook with the rice).
    2 cups water
  • Place the glutinous rice in the rice cooker bowl. Wash and drain with water until the water runs clear (around 2-3 times).
    280 g glutinous rice
  • Pour in the cooled adzuki beans and liquid over the rice, then fill up to the 2 1/2 cup point in your rice cooker with water.
  • Cook according to your rice cooker instructions, then serve hot or cold with a garnish of gomashio.

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Rice Seasoning – If you know you like rice seasoned with salt, you can add 1 tsp of salt in with the sticky rice and red bean before cooking.
  • Storage – Leftover sekihan will last a few days in the fridge in an airtight container. You can also freeze leftovers for a month or two.
  • Lighter Rice – Swap out half of the sticky rice for sushi rice. This will make the sekihan less sticky and lighter on the stomach.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Sekihan – Japanese Red Bean Sticky Rice
Amount per Serving
Calories
188
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.3
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.1
g
1
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
0.1
g
Sodium
 
8
mg
0
%
Potassium
 
98
mg
3
%
Carbohydrates
 
41
g
14
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
Vitamin A
 
1
IU
0
%
Calcium
 
11
mg
1
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Sekihan - Japanese Red Bean Sticky Rice

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