Category: Wagashi

Japanese traditional sweets in autumn. Feel autumn with Wagashi

Japanese traditional sweets in autumn. Feel autumn with Wagashi

One unique characteristic of Japanese traditional sweets, Wagashi, is how the many varieties represent the changing seasons. Of course, there are some Wagashi that you can enjoy throughout a year such as Taiyaki, (fish-shaped pancakes with red bean paste filling) but if you take a look at Wagashi store’s showcase you’ll see different types of Wagashi depending on the season.

Related post: watermelon dango?! wagashi brings you a sense of season!

Autumn already have arrived in Japan, so let me introduce you to Wagashi world in autumn!ヽ(´∀`ヽ)

 

Types of Wagashi in autumn

Autumn Wagashi can be split into two main types. The first type are those that are styled after the symbolic colors and sights of autumn. The second are those that include ingredients harvested in autumn, so mainly sweet potatoes, chestnuts and persimmons.

 

Wagashi that express autumn by looking

Moving back to the first type that tries to capture the nature of Autumn in the presentation, they mainly try to portray the symbolic flowers and autumn colors. A lot of these types of Wagashi take the form of ‘Nerikiri’, a combination of Shiroan, white bean paste, and Gyuhi, sweet soft Mochi.

 

Flower of autumn: Cosmos
Cosmos is written as “autumn cherry blossom” in Japanese characters. People love Cosmos by its cute looking just like cherry blossom in autumn.

 

Symbol of autumn: Autumn leaves
Leaves turn to red in autumn and they are very beautiful.

 

Flower of autumn: Chrysanthemum
As there is a day of chrysanthemum (9th September) in Japan, people love chrysanthemum.

 

Wagashi that is made with tastes of autumn

In addition to some classic Dorayaki, there are unique and creative modern types of Dorayaki too.

As autumn in Japan is called “Appetite of Autumn” (shokuyoku-no-aki), there are many veggies/fruits/nuts that especially delicious in this season.

 

Sweet potato
Sweet potato in autumn is more sweet and delicious! They are good as just grilled, but why don’t you taste them in Wagashi?

Sweet potato Yo-kan↓

 

Chestnut
Nuts are in season too, especially chestnuts are great for sweets. Some Wagashi try to express chestnuts by their looks not just by their tastes.

Chestnut Manju↓

 

Persimmon
Persimmon represents Japanese autumn fruits. Most of persimmon are made from dried persimmon so that you can taste the sweetness from persimmon directly.

Dried persimmon with red bean paste filling↓

 
 

If you visit Japan in autumn, please try those seasonal sweets too!ヽ(‘ ∇‘ )ノ

 

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Dorayaki? From classic Dorayaki to unique modern Dorayaki

What is Dorayaki? From classic Dorayaki to unique modern Dorayaki

Dorayaki is a very popular Japanese sweet that you can buy almost anywhere in Japan, includeing places such as grocery stores and convenience stores.

Let’s learn few basic facts about Dorayaki!(´ー*`)

 

What is Dorayaki?

Dorayaki is Japanese sweets which consists of two circular pancake-like dough wrapped around a filling of Anko, sweet red bean paste. The dough has a fluffy, soft, sponge-like texture. It is Japanese classic sweet that is widely enjoyed from kids to the elderly for snack time.

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

Dorayaki is is a simple snack, however Japanese confectionery makers study and experiment with its ingredients for a long time to achieve a perfect taste balance and find out new and exciting combinations. In particular, they experiment with thickness and the softness of the pancake dough and sweetness of the Anko, red bean paste. I recommend you to try different types and find your favorite Dorayaki!

 

Classic Dorayaki

The “an” in “Anko” originally meant “filling of a food” in Chinese. It is believed to be introduced to Japan in the 14th century, when manju buns filled with “an” arrived in Japan from China.

Classic Dorayaki is one that has Tsubuan as filling, which is chunky red bean paste.

Related post: what is japanese red bean paste, anko? types and how to eat at home

 

There is also Mochi Dorayaki, which has Mochi inside as a filling together with red bean paste. Mochi gives a good accent of texture to it.

 

Chestnut Dorayaki has chestnuts inside and often be eaten in autumn when chestnut is in season in Japan.

 

Unique Dorayaki

In addition to some classic Dorayaki, there are unique and creative modern types of Dorayaki too.

Soda Pop Dorayaki: has vivid blue colored Anko together with whipped cream. The blue Anko taste like Japanese soda pop called Ramune, which surprisingly match well with fluffy pancakes and cream!

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Pudding Dorayaki: has a whole pudding as a filling instead of Anko. People say this is very good for kids who don’t like Anko very much.

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Butter Dorayaki: has a block of butter together with Anko. You may be surprised this combination but the richness from butter and sweetness from Anko go well together!

 

How to make Dorayaki at home

To make Dorayaki, you don’t need special tools and it is very easy to make!

You need:  *this makes 6 Dorayaki
– 100g of all-purpose flour
– 80g of sugar
– one teaspoon of baking powder
– 50cc of water
– two eggs
– 250g of Anko, red bean paste

1. First, mix all dry ingredients, flour, sugar and baking powder in a bowl.
2. In a different bowl, mix eggs and water.
3. Add (2) into (1) mixing well and keeping it from being lumpy and make batter. Rest the batter in a reregister in 15min.
4. Heat a non-sticky pan and pour 2 tablespoons of batter to make one pancake.
5. Flip it over once one side becomes golden brown and toasty.
6. Let the pancakes cool and sandwich Anko with two pancakes. And done!

 
 

Dorayaki is famous as a favorite sweet of Japanese very popular anime character, Doraemon! Hope you will like Dorayaki as much as Doraemon does!

 

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Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Yokan? Traditional Japanese sweets that can be very arty

What is Yokan? Traditional Japanese sweets that can be very arty

Yokan is a quintessential Japanese confection. There are even some people who even equate Japanese sweets with Yokan. To be honest, most people either love it or hate it. I personally started appreciating it only after I become an adult and was captivated by how nice it matches with rich Matcha green tea!(っ´ェ`c)

I will introduce you few types of beautiful Yokan, and how to make Yokan easily at home!

 

What is Yokan?

Yokan is usually made by adding agar to Anko, red bean paste and solidifying it. It’s kind of like a firm Japanese jelly. Normally, it’s sold as a bar-shaped blocks and sliced before eating.

Related post: what is japanese red bean paste, anko? types and how to eat at home

Made with adzuki beans, agar, and sugar, the taste of this confection varies by its ingredients and the way it’s prepared. Many shops create their own uniquely flavored Yokans.

 

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Types of Yokan

Neri-Yokan, is the most common type of Yokan. When Japanese people say Yokan then usually refer to Neri-Yokan.

Mizu-Yokan, is made with less agar and the texture is much softer and refreshing than Neri-Yokan. Usually people enjoy it during the summer.

Mushi-Yokan, is made by steaming and using flour or arrowroot starch instead of agar.

Besides those, there are more types of Yokan such as one with sweet potatoes or chestnuts. So please try many Yokan and find your favorite Yokan!

 

Yokan can be very beautiful and arty

If you have visited Japan, you may have seen beautiful Yokan in showcases of Japanese confectionary stores. Typical Yokan looks like just a bar in adzuki color (brown red). But, many Japanese confectionary stores try to express seasons by mixing colors and shapes to entertain your eyes. I will you show you some examples!

 

Mt. Fuji in summer.

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A little bird flying to the moon.

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Milky way in summer.

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How to make Yokan at home

I’ll teach you how to make a basic Neri-yokan. It’s easy! you just carefully knead the bean paste so it doesn’t burn, cool it, and let it solidify.

You need:  *this makes one Yokan in 12cm x 7cm.
– 400g of Koshi-an (smooth red bean paste)
– 200ml of water
– 4g of powdered agar
– 130g of white sugar

1. First, pour water, powdered agar, and refined sugar into a pot and boil for over one minute over medium heat.
2. And add the bean paste to (1) and mix carefully so it doesn’t burn over low heat.
3. When mixing (2) using a wooden spoon, make bottom of the pot visible. When the paste is heated enough and doesn’t return immediately, pour it into a mold. Put it into the refrigerator after it has cooled down a bit and leave it there for more than an hour until it solidifies. Then it’s done!

 
 

Please let me know if you try Yokan and how you like it! But when you try Yokan, don’t forget to eat it with some Matcha green tea as they make a perfect combination!(>∀<人) Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Japanese red bean paste, Anko? Types and how to eat at home

What is Japanese red bean paste, Anko? Types and how to eat at home

If you have tried Japanese traditional sweets, for sure your have heard of Anko, Japanese red bean paste. Anko is core ingredient in many traditional Japanese sweets.

Let’s learn few interesting facts about Anko!(p゚∀゚q)

 

What is Japanese red bean paste?

Japanese red bean paste, Anko (餡子), in most cases, is a food made by boiling beans such as adzuki beans, adding sugar, and kneading. It is used in many Japanese traditional sweets, Wagashi, as a filling or a topping. Also it sometimes referred to as Japanese jam.

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

 

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The history of Anko

The “an” in “Anko” originally meant “filling of a food” in Chinese. It is believed to be introduced to Japan in the 14th century, when manju buns filled with “an” arrived in Japan from China.

Instead of the sweet adzuki beans used for today’s Anko, the “an” in those manju buns contained meat. Japanese monks could not eat meat, so they replaced meat with adzuki beans and ate it that way. Later, sugar arrived in Japan through trade with foreign countries, and the modern practice of boiling adzuki beans with sugar to make Anko was born.

Anko is truly vegan!

 

Types of Anko: Tsubuan, Koshian, Shiroan

There are 3 major types of Anko, Tsubuan, Koshian and Shiroan.

Tsubuan is anko made without using a strainer or anything that would break the skin of the adzuki beans, so that the shape of the beans remains intact. Koshian is Anko where the adzuki beans are crushed and strained through, for example a cloth, to remove the skins, giving it a smooth taste. Shiroan is Anko made with cannellini beans instead of adzuki beans. It has a creamy, gentle flavor, and even people who don’t like Anko with adzuki beans will enjoy it.

There are also varieties of Anko using beans other than adzuki or cannellini beans, such as edamame beans. So please try as many Anko as possible and find your favorite one!

 

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How to eat Anko at home

If you like Anko, I recommend you to try “Anko toast”. First, spread butter on a toast, and put some Anko on the toast. This is surely not a traditional way to eat Anko but the richness from butter and sweetness from Anko go well together. Please give it a shot!

 

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Also, you can spread Anko on crackers just like you eat regular jam. Of course, if you want to try Japanese traditional ways, you can cover some Anko with Mochi(this will turn into delicious Japanese sweet called Daifuku)!

Related post: what is daifuku? perfect combination of mochi and red bean jam (anko)

 
 

Anko is unique and delicious ingredient for sweets. Please try it if you are interested!ヾ(*´∀`*)ノ

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Taiyaki? The most popular Japanese traditional sweets

What is Taiyaki? The most popular Japanese traditional sweets

Taiyaki, is named as the No.1 popular Japanese traditional sweets among many other types and tastes of other traditional sweets in Japan. What an honor to you, Taiyaki! (* ̄∇ ̄)/゚・:*

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

Let’s learn more about Taiyaki together!

 

What is Taiyaki?

Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped pancake that has Anko (red bean paste) filling inside. Its fish-shape expresses sea bream, and in Japanese called “Tai” (鯛). The outer layer pancakes are usually thin and crispy, and they nicely match with the Anko filling inside.

Related post: what is japanese red bean paste, anko? types and how to eat at home

 

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The history of Taiyaki

It all started in 1909 when a Japanese confectionery store was having trouble selling their “Imagawayaki” cakes, a traditional Japanese confection filled with sweet red bean paste, and so they started experimenting with the shape. The shape of a turtle also did not sell, but when they tried the shape a “Tai” fish (sea bream), the confections started flying off the shelves.

As to why they chose the shape of the Tai fish, it is said that because the Tai fish is considered to be a lucky charm, and that because the fish itself was a luxury food that common people could not afford. They wanted to use the Tai fish as their confection model.

 

Where to buy Taiyaki?

You can buy Taiyaki at food vendor stalls set up at tourist sites or at many Japanese confectionery stores in Japan. I recommend to try Taiyaki at a food stall on the street, so you can enjoy the flavor of freshly baked Taiyaki while it is still piping hot!

 

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How to make Taiyaki at home?

An easy way to make Taiyaki at home is using pancake mix. To make the Taiyaki shape, you need a Taiyaki maker which is sold on Amazon. (affiliate link below)

 

 

You need:  *this makes 12 small Taiyaki
– 200g of pancake mix
– 180cc of milk
– One whole egg
– 2 tablespoons of honey
– 300g of Anko (red bean paste)

First, mix all ingredients except Anko in a bowl and make a batter (thin dough). Next, put generous amount of batter into a hot Taiyaki maker. Next, put some Anko on the batter. If you love Anko, go ahead and put some extra! Once the pancakes become golden brown and crispy, Taiyaki is done! The freshly made Taiyaki is the best.

 

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Unusual fillings of Taiyaki

The most common and traditional filling is “Tsubu-an,” whole red beans boiled with sugar, but there are fillings other than sweet red bean paste such as cream or chocolate that are popular with children and people who do not care for sweet red bean paste. There are also unsweetened, meal like fillings such as ham and cheese or even “Okonomiyaki,” a Japanese pan-fried dish with batter, cabbage, and egg.

 

 
 

It is still being debated amongst Taiyaki fans whether it is best to start eating the Taiyaki from the head or from the tail. Generally speaking, if you start from the head, you will enjoy more red bean paste in the beginning, whereas starting from the tail results in a crispier culinary experience.

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Dango? The 5 most popular types of Dango

What is Dango? The 5 most popular types of Dango

Have you ever tried Dango? Dango is one of the most popular Japanese sweets (Wagashi). If you are a fan of Mochi, you really should try Dango.(*^ワ^*)

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

I am sure you have seen Dango if you have visited Japan as it is sold at anywhere, such as convenience stores and tourist areas. Here, I will explain you interesting facts about Dango!

 

What is Dango?

Generally, Dango is the term for the Japanese traditional sweet that is made of several small Mochi balls on skewers. Mochi balls may be topped with sauces or grilled before eating and it said that there are more than 20 different variations of Dango.

Let me introduce you the 5 most popular types of Dango!

 

Mitarashi Dango

Mitarashi Dango is the most popular type of Dango, it is also my favorite Dango!

Mitarashi Dango is grilled and topped with a thick, sweet soy sauce that tastes similar to Teriyaki sauce. The savory Dango combined with the salty sweet sauce is very delicious!
 

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Hanami Dango

When the Sakura (cherry blossom) season comes, these cute Hanami Dango is lined up at Japanese confection shops. Many people enjoy Hanami Dango while viewing the cherry blossom. The pink, white, and green colors of the skewered Mochi balls are their distinctive trait.

Some say that the three colors of Hanami Dango represent spring: pink being cherry blossoms, white being spring sake, and green being Japanese Mugwort. The Mochi balls are mixed with sugar and slightly sweet.
Please try it if you come visit Japan in the season of Sakura!
 

 

Kinako Dango

Kinako Dango has Kinako powder, which is a grilled soy bean powder, as a topping. Freshly grilled aroma from soy bean is an excellent match with Mochi’s soft and gooey texture.
 

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Matcha Dango

Matcha Dango has Matcha powder mixed in Mochi balls. The vivid green color and fresh aroma from Matcha gives Mochi a good accent. It is extra delicious if it has some red bean paste (Anko) on top of Dango as a topping!
Of course, you want to try this Dango with a cup of Matcha, right?
 

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Soy Sauce Dango

Soy sauce Dango is grilled Dango topped with soy sauce. The savory scent of the grilled soy sauce is irresistible.
One creative and delicious way to enjoy Soy Sauce Dango is if you wrap them in seaweed or coat them with chili flakes. We recommend to try Dango when it fresh! You can find freshly made Dango at shopping districts and in sightseeing areas.
 

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These days there are so many creative types and tastes of Dango that you can enjoy!
Related post: watermelon dango?! wagashi brings you a sense of season
 
Please try many types of Dango and find your favorite one(s)!╭(๑•̀ㅂ•́)و
Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Daifuku? Perfect combination of Mochi and red bean jam (Anko)

What is Daifuku? Perfect combination of Mochi and red bean jam (Anko)

Daifuku is one of the most popular Japanese traditional sweets. It is my absolute favorite too!

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

 

What is Daifuku?

The Japanese sweets called ‘Daifuku’ are small balls of Mochi filled with sweet bean paste. The combination of fluffy, gooey Mochi and sweet red bean jam (Anko) is just too perfect.

The bean filling is either red or white and can be rough with whole beans in it or a smooth paste. Each Daifuku maker has done years of R&D to create the perfect combination of sweetness, taste and texture, so Daifuku lovers should try as many versions as they can!

Related post:  what is japanese red bean paste, anko? types and how to eat at home

Daifuku is a very simple sweets, and there are many types of Daifuku made with multiple ingredients. Let me introduce you 4 popular Daifuku!ヽ(・∀・)ノ

 

Mame (bean) Daifuku

Mame Daifuku is the most popular traditional Daifuku among Japanese people. Mame (bean) Daifuku is a type that has boiled peas mixed in with the Mochi. The crunchy beans make a perfect accent to the chewy Mochi texture.

The filling typically consists of red bean jam, either “chunky” style sweet bean jam called Tsubu-An, or a smooth jam made only from the inside parts of the bean, called Koshi-An.

There are many makers specialized in Mame Daifuku in Japan. Depending on a maker, the thickness of Mochi, the sweetness of Anko and the amount of beans are different.

 

 

Ichigo Daifuku (aka Strawberry Mochi)

Ichigo (strawberry) Daifuku has an entire strawberry inside. The sourness and fresh flavor from strawberry, the sweetness from sweet bean paste and the chewy Mochi make for the perfect flavor combination!

Typical Ichigo Daifuku has red bean jam inside but there are ones that have white bean jam instead. You can find many Ichigo Daifuku sold during strawberry season, which is winter ~ spring in Japan.

 

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Yomogi (mugwort) Daifuku

Yomogi (Japanese mugwort) Daifuku has mugwort leaves mixed into the Mochi, giving it a green color. People also call it ‘Kusa Mochi’ (grass Mochi). Its refreshing herb-like taste gives a good accent to Mochi.

 

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Cream Daifuku

Cream Daifuku is a more modern twist on an old classic. Instead of just bean paste, they fill it with cream (and sometimes bean paste as well).

There are many more types of Cream Daifuku, like one has coffee-flavor in Mochi, or fruity one that has fruits such as grape and orange inside together with cream.

 

 

 

Daifuku is a very simple sweet as it consists of Mochi and red bean jam, yet there are many types of Daifuku.

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Japanese response to wine and cheese, Wagashi and Sake?!

Japanese response to wine and cheese, Wagashi and Sake?!

Japanese traditional sweets (Wagashi) are designed to match traditional Japanese teas, such as Matcha. In fact, the combination of Wagashi and Matcha has been polished through ages as a part of Japanese culture, Sado (茶道), Japanese tea ceremony.

 

Related post: wagashi and matcha – combination polished through ages!

 

Wagashi and Sake?! – It’s a new trend in Japan.

Recently a new trend concerning Wagashi started in Japan. That is to pair Wagashi with Sake (aka Japanese rice wine) just like wine and cheese!Σ(゜ロ゜;)

This trend seems getting bigger and more widespread; many Sake bars now offer Wagashi as a side snack with your favorite sake, new restaurants that specializes in pairing Wagashi and Sake opened, many workshops are held where you can try different combinations to find your favorite pair. Surprisingly Wagashi and Sake go well together as the sweetness from Anko (Japanese red bean jam, used for most of Wagashi) matches flavors of Sake.

 

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But I wonder… What Wagashi go well with Sake?! Here, I introduce you 4 Wagashi that I recommend you to try to pair to Sake! Here we go!

 

4 Wagashi that go well with Sake

 

Yo-kan (羊羹)

Yo-kan is a Japanese type of jelly, made of Anko, sugar and ager. Its texture is like a hard jelly. To pair to Sake, I recommend Yo-kan that is made of Koshi-An (smooth Anko) as this is more smooth and melts in your mouth together with Sake. Want to try Yo-kan with fruity Sake?

 

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Daifuku (大福)

Daifuku (aka Anko Mochi) is another popular Wagashi made of round Anko covered with Mochi (sticky and chewy rice cake). You can taste strong flavor of rice from Mochi. Sake is also made from rice. No wonder they go well together. I recommend you to try Nigori-Sake (unfiltered Sake, also called as Cloudy Sake) with Daifuku as Nigori-Sake has strong and mellow flavor.

 

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Very popular Daifuku, Ichigo-Daifuku (aka Strawberry Mochi) also goes well with Sake!

 

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Dango (団子)

Dango is small Mochi balls skewered on a bamboo stick and served with many kinds of sauce. Dango is made of Mochi and has a strong rich rice flavor. There are many sauces for Dango but especially Mitarashi-Dango matches with Sake. Mitarashi is a Japanese rich sauce made of sugar and soy sauce. Since it tastes sweet and savory, it goes really good with Sake which has rich and smooth flavor.

 

 

Monaka (最中)

Monaka is Anko that is sandwiched with 2 crispy wafers made of Mochi. Because wafers are very thin and has freshly roasted aroma, you can taste nice and strong flavor from Anko. Please try Monaka with dry Sake.

Related post: what is monaka? crispy japanese traditional sweets

 

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Will you try? Let’s find your favorite combination.

Are you interested to try Japanese response to classic wine and cheese pair? There are hundreds of different flavors that Wagashi have. This allows you to easily enjoy many different taste combinations of Wagashi and Sake.

Related post: top 10 japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

 

Wagashi and Sake might be a surprising combination but I encourage you to give it a shot. And let me know your favorite combination! (*´∇`)ノ

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Watermelon Dango?! Wagashi brings you a sense of season

Watermelon Dango?! Wagashi brings you a sense of season

Wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) are often designed to express characteristics and subtleties of a season. Wagashi’s shape, color and taste change depending on season.

 

How Wagashi express each season

In spring when Sakura (season of beautiful cherry blossoms), you can enjoy Wagashi called Sakura-Mochi that as is pink as Sakura and has actually Sakura flavor.

 

In summer when it is very hot and you want to eat and drink something refreshing, you can find jelly-like transparent Wagashi called Kingyoku-Kan that brings you sense of coolness just by looking at it.

 

In autumn when nuts are in season, you can enjoy Kuri Manju (chestnut bun) that is designed to look like chestnut and has a chestnut with delicious Ank0 filling inside.

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In winter, you see many Wagashi shaped as Tsubaki flower (camellia), a beautiful flower that blooms blooms in winter.

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Many Wagashi often made to describe seasons with their looks and taste. However, some popular Wagashi are enjoyed throughout the year regardless of season. For example, popular Dorayaki (Anko sandwiched between two pancakes).

 

Watermelon Dango?!

Nowadays, beside those traditional seasonal Wagashi, some makers experiment with different ingredients and looks to further surprise you. In this post, I would like to introduce a very creative type Dango. Dango is small round Mochi balls that are skewered on bamboo sticks. Typical Dango comes with sweet soy sauce (this one is called Mitarashi-Dango) or Anko on top.

 

This Dango went viral on social media this summer. It is made by a Wagashi maker that has a long history. I introduce you,, watermelon Dango!

Related post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango

 

As you can see, it looks just like watermelon! But I wonder… how it tastes like?!

 

It was made with great attention to details! Inside is red just like watermelon, and even has black seeds. It expresses watermelon very well. The red part is Mochi (chewy rice cake) and seeds are black sesame. The green and black coating is chocolate. Each piece is made by hand. What surprised me that it not only looks like a watermelon, but it tastes like as watermelon as well. This is because the red Mochi inside is made with watermelon juice! And it actually tastes really good! Mochi and chocolate go well together and watermelon flavor adds freshness to it.

 

By the way, this is good example of modern Wagashi because traditional traditional Wagashi does not include chocolate.

This watermelon Dango is made by Wagashi maker called “Yagumo Dango”. They make many different Dango types including classic Mitarashi Dango. This maker is quite popular and has long history. However, this new watermelon Dango booster its popularity in Japan significantly. They ship only within Japan as frozen delivery. To defrost, you need put them in a fridge for 2.5 hours before eating.

 

Please give it a try!

If you visit Japan try this Dango with family and friends! I am sure you will enjoy it. And if you try it, please let us know.

 

[Info]Yagumo Dango : 6 watermelon Dango, 1,620 JPY + shipping fee. Only available in Japan. (´・ω・`)

 

Matane! (In Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Top 10 popular Japanese sweets (Wagashi) that Japanese like the most!

Top 10 popular Japanese sweets (Wagashi) that Japanese like the most!

Wagashi (和菓子) are traditional Japanese sweets, that have more than 300 years of history (to learn more about Wagashi’s history, click here). In the present days, in Japan you see more Western sweets such as chocolate and cookies than Wagashi. However, according to the survey, 80% of Japanese people respond that they love and eat Wagashi regularly. And there are many different types of Wagashi out there. I wonder… what Wagashi does Japanese really like?! Here are TOP 10 Wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) that Japanese likes the most!

 

No.10: Sakura-Mochi (桜餅)

Sakura-Mochi is the representative sweet of spring in Japan. Sakura means cherry blossom in Japanese, so you see this sweet belongs to the “season of Sakura” (typically March and April). Mochi is colored in pink just like Sakura, filled with Anko (red bean jam), and covered with salted Sakura leaves. By the way, you can eat leaves together with pink Mochi. This way, you can taste the perfect combination of sweetness from Anko and saltiness from leaves with a hint of Sakura aroma.

 

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No.9: Kusa-Mochi(草餅)

Kusa-Mochi is also known as a sweet of spring, and usually enjoyed between March and May, the season when fresh veggies and greens come in Japan. Mochi is mixed with Japanese mugwort (a type of herb) and with Anko inside. It has nice and herby aroma to it and you can also taste a hint of bitterness from mugwort. Have you ever tried?

 

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No.8: Warabi-Mochi(わらび餅)

Warabi-Mochi is made with bracken starch, sugar and water. It has jelly-like and a little chewy texture to it. It doesn’t consist of rice but since it has chewy texture it is called Mochi. (Typical Mochi is made from sticky rice and very sticky and chewy). Usually it comes with roasted soybean flour which is called Kinako or brown sugar syrup.

 

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No.7: Dorayaki(どら焼き)

Dorayaki consists of two round pancakes that sandwich Anko. This sweet is popular regardless of season and you can find at grocery or convenience stores in Japan. It is a very simple sweet, but very soft and delicious sweet. Let’s find your favorite Dorayaki!

Related Post: what is dorayaki? from classic dorayaki to unique modern dorayaki

 

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No.6: Senbei(煎餅)

Senbei is a Japanese type of cracker made from rice. Typically it is savory as it’s seasoned with soy sauce or salt, but you can find senbei in many tastes such as sugar or very unique one like Japanese plum. Also each Senbei has different texture, from very light one to very hard and crunchy one. It goes well with Japanese green tea, but also it is good with beer!

Related Post: what is senbei? super crunchy japanese rice cracker

 

 

No.5: Ohagi (aka Bota-Mochi)(おはぎ)

This Wagashi is typically eaten in Ohigan period that is related to a Buddhist event in spring and autumn. It is a chewy rice ball that made from regular rice and Mochi rice (aka a short-grain japonica glutinous rice) and covered with Anko, Kinako (soybean powder) or sweet black sesame. It is bigger than other Wagashi and quite filling so sometimes people eat it as lunch!

 

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No.4: Dango(団子)

Dango is small round Mochi balls that are skewered on bamboo sticks. One of the most popular Dango is definitely Mitarashi-Dango, which is Dango grilled and covered with gooey sweet soy sauce. Besides that, you can have Dango with Anko, soy sauce and seaweed or many other sauces, you also can find Matcha (green tea) Dango as well. We recommend you to try Mitarashi-Dango first if you have not tried any Dango!

Related Post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango

 

 

No.3: Castella(カステラ)

Castella is a Japanese sponge cake made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup. The cake was brought to Japan from Portuguese in the 16th century and evolved independently in Japan from its original style. The top and bottom parts are brown and most parts are yellow. Japanese people love eating this with milk. Please try!

Related Post: what is castella? born in portugal and raised in japan

 

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No.2: Daifuku(大福)

Daifuku is Anko covered with Mochi. There are many types of Daifuku, such as Mame-Daifuku that has beans in Mochi, and very popular Ichigo-Daifuku (aka strawberry Mochi) that has strawberry inside. (also you can find ones that have grapes or oranges inside these days!) Daifuku makers has each own recipes so it is fun to try some Daifuku from different makers and find your favorite one.

Related post: what is daifuku? perfect combination of mochi and red bean jam (anko)

 

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(Drum roll…) and… the TOP 1 Wagashi that Japanese like the most is…..

 

No.1: Tai-Yaki, Iamagawa-Yaki, Ningyo-Yaki (たい焼き、今川焼き、人形焼)

They can be considered almost the same type of Wagashi. These are the most popular traditional Wagashi among Japanese people. These are pancakes made from flour, sugar, eggs and water with Anko filling inside. It is also well known as street food in Japan! You can find them at food trucks or small shops at festivals or shopping streets in Japan.

 

Tai-Yaki is shaped as a Tai (鯛・sea bream) because Tai is considered as a lucky charm in Japan. There are thousands of Tai-Yaki makers across Japan with each having their own taste secrets. Some have thin pancakes, some have fluffy and some have thick and crispy on edges pancakes. Japanese always discuss which way they prefer to eat Tai-Yaki, from head or fishtail. (I like eating from fishtail! Usually fishtail is more crispy and head has more Anko!)

Related Post: what is taiyaki? the most popular japanese traditional sweets

 

 

Imagawa-Yaki is round shaped unlike Tai-Yaki. Compared Tai-Yaki, pancakes of Imagawa-Yaki is more fluffy and tender. Imagawa-Yaki that have custard cream inside instead of Anko are quite popular as well. These are popular among kids and those who don’t like Anko very much, but want to enjoy Wagashi.

 

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Ningyo-Yaki is smaller than Tai-Yaki and Imagawa-Yaki and its pancakes are made even more fluffy. Most common and traditional shapes of these bite-size treats are Japanese Seven Lucky Gods (七福神). However, these days you can find more fancy ones such as Hello Kitty. Ningyo-Yaki originated in Asakusa, which is one of the most popular town for sightseeing in Tokyo. There you can find many small stalls that make fresh Ningyo-Yaki on the shopping street. Please try when you come to Tokyo!

 

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Which one you want to try?

There are many other types of Wagashi such as Yo-kan (Japanese type of jelly) and Nerikiri (Anko mixed with Mochi in a beautiful artistic shape). What Wagashi you want to try? What Wagashi is your favorite? Please leave a comment below if you have anything you want to know about Wagashi, Matcha and Japanese culture!

 

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)