Strawberries, tsubuan, ice cream


There are some food combinations that you think just shouldn't belong together, but do so well. Strawberries with sweet beans? Surely not, you think, until you taste an ichigo daifuku - a strawberry wrapped in some azuki an and thin gyuuhi, a dough made of rice. I've had ichigo daifuku on my mind lately but have been too lazy to make the dumplings. This is a very easy alternative. Arguably it's even better.

You need some tsubuan, sweet azuki beans that have been roughly mashed. I recommend my not-so-sweet tsubuan, which is easy to make in batches; extras can be frozen. Or use storebought--you can find it at Japanese groceries.

You also need some ripe strawberries, which are in season now around here, marinating them in balsamic vinegar.

Put about 2 tablespoons of tsubuan in a bowl, and top with about 4 (or more) spoonfuls of sliced strawberries, with plenty of the syrup that it's in. Top with a little, or a lot, of vanilla ice cream, made with soy milk or cow's milk, whichever you prefer. (In this case I prefer a soymilk ice cream, which seems to fit better.) Let the ice cream melt over everything while you eat.

It's a cool yet quite filling snack for a warm day.

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