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!”)

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