Tag: Yo-kan

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!”)

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!”)