Zensai is a very sweet bean-and-mochi dish resembling porridge that is served as part of the Japanese New Year’s celebration. EN Japanese Brasserie in New York includes this version on its New Year’s menu.
What to buy: Adzuki are small, sweet red beans that can be found at Asian markets.
Place beans in a medium pot, cover with cold water by about 2 inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until beans are cooked through, about 55 to 60 minutes. (Beans are done once they mash easily when pressed between your fingers.)
Drain beans through a fine mesh strainer and rinse out the pot. Return the pot to the stove and add cooked beans, water, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until cooking liquid has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.