トップ〜赤飯の由来

Sekihan (Redbean and rice)

Japanese
Sekihan is a type of colored rice made frommixing and steamingwaxy-rice and boiled red beans (azuki)or cow peas (sasage). Sekihan is a type of"kowa-meshi" or "okowa". It was a staple diet of the ancient Japanese.

Sekihan was eaten during festive occasions such as birthdays, seasonal festivals, shichi-go-san festivals (festival for children aged seven, five and three) and weddings to wish happiness and good fortune. Sekihan is made by mixing azuki and steaming the mix whilst mixing in azuki broth to make the sekihan red in color. It has been said that the azuki beans were mixed with the waxy-rice not only to color the rice but also to shorten the cooking time.

In recent times, in preparing kowa-meshi , it is customary to prepare sekihan for festive or celebratory occasions and preparing white waxy rice only (shira-mushi) for death/funeral related occasions. However, in the past, the symbolismand meaning of preparing colored red sekihan differed from region to region. For example, in the Ogihara Essays, it is stated that in Kyoto people prepared white kowa-meshi for festive occasions and colored sekihan for unhappy occasions. Also in Edo (old Tokyo), white kowa-meshi were eaten during April to August and red sekihans in September to March.
It is said that azuki bean werealso included in sekihans for medicinal virtue.Azuki has also been well known for its health merits. It was written in "Waka Food Honzo" that:
  • azuki bean reduces fevers
  • azuki bean reduces swelling by taking away puss from infected areas. Stops diarrhea and promotes urine.
  • azuki bean quenches thirst.
ナルミの赤飯
It is also believed that red color of the azuki bean chases away bad luck and evil therefore are often used for celebrations and festive occasions.Due to the red color of azuki beans not only are azuki beans used for preparing sekihans also for various occasions such asazuki bean rice porridge (Jan.15), Okotoni (Feb. 8), Hatsuuma, the 1st and 15th of each month and other special occasions.
 
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