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Posts Tagged ‘anko’

I’ve started to count the seasons here by not the weather, but the appearance and disappearance of Japanese sweets, wagashi from the local grocery store.kashiiwaa
I have one weak spot for wagashi devoted wholly to kashiwa mochi 柏餅,which is rice cakes formed into a pancake like shape, and filled with a sweet bean paste, then wrapped in a oak or kashiwa leaf. The sweet is associated with Children’s Day 子供の日 in May. I specifically love the ones filled with a mixture of miso an, or sweet white bean paste mixed with a small amount of salty Saikyo miso paste.

From the middle of April, I start to keep an eye on the wagashi corner of the grocery store, and do a little happy dance when I spot them for the first time in the season. Because these sweets definitely  have a season!  Wait more than a few days after the 5th of May, and you’ll have to wait another year before they come back.  While I like red bean mochi, and generally enjoy the taste of sweet bean paste, sometimes the tooth aching sweetness can be a bit too much even for me.
kashiiwaa2
Miso an filled kashiwa mochi is at once sweet and salty, the miso paste lends a depth of flavor missing from regular red bean paste, making the filling taste almost creamy. I guess adding the miso to the filling is the same concept as adding flaky sea salt to a chocolate cookie, or salted caramels, the salty taste accenting the taste of the white bean paste and preventing the filling from being overly sweet. It’s difficult even in Japan to find wagashi shops that still make miso an kashiwa mochi, but if by chance you do find a place selling them, please give them a try!

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Sakura blossom wagashi: white manju topped with a salted pickled cherry blossom, and filled with a white bean paste also mixed with cherry blossom flowers to give it a pink color.

A little early for actual sakura season here in Yamanashi, but the color of the pickled flower makes me hope that the blossoms will be spectacular this year.

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shiroan monaka

White Bean Monaka (白あんモナカ ):two thin wafers made of rice flour filled with white sweetened bean paste. Delicious, even if it sticks to your mouth.

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Usagi wagashi

Usagi Wagashi: a type of manju (steamed bread) filled with white anko (bean paste) and a honeyed kumquat. the kumquat is really sweet and refreshing.

Tea ceremony lesson @ Katsunuma, Yamanashi, Japan

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