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Japanese foods--Wagashi


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249 replies to this topic

#61 Hiroyuki

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 08:31 PM

Kanten and agar-agar are made from different types of seaweeds.
Kanten: Tengusa and ogonori
Agar-agar: Suginori and minomata

Source (Japanese only):
http://www.kantenpp....p?faq_catcode=6
See under Q09.

Kanten is made by purifying tokoroten by exposing it to the cold.
Me ga ten library (Japanese only):
http://www.ntv.co.jp...03/02/0202.html

See also:
http://www.cuoca.com..._gyoukozai.html
This site discusses the difference in texture between gelatin, kanten, and agar-agar.

I, for one, like the hard texture of kanten.

#62 torakris

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 12:35 AM

sorry, can't let this rest yet. :biggrin:

this link http://seaweed.ucg.i...eral/Agars.html
says (Japanese names are my addition):
The best quality agar is extracted from species of the red algal genera Pterocladia (OBAKUSA) and Gelidium (TENGUSA), which are harvested by hand from natural populations in Spain, Portugal, Morocco, the Azores, California, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Chile, and Japan. Agars of lesser quality are extracted from Gracilaria (OGONORI) and Hypnea (IBARANORI) species.

After doing a lot of research on the internet it seems to boil down to different and/or general names to describe the same thing. In the US where the main use of agar is as a lab culture substrate a general name for all of the various seaweeds serves its purpose while in Japan where it is prized for its food applications it is broken down into different types with slightly different qualities.

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#63 Hiroyuki

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 12:56 AM

Hm...
But I still insist that I do not want agar-agar cubes in my mitsumame...
You know the texture... That's the whole point of kanten.

#64 torakris

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 03:01 PM

Hm...
But I still insist that I do not want agar-agar cubes in my mitsumame...
You know the texture...  That's the whole point of kanten.

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actually I am with you on this! :biggrin: I personally don't care for those hard cubes and I would take a hot fudge sundae over mitsumame anyday.....

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#65 helenjp

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 05:53 PM

My first husband wrote an entire thesis on the physical properties of agar gels :laugh:

Origamicrane, if you can't buy Japanese style kanten in shops (either in ultralight dried "blocks" or as a powder), you should be able to buy the Chinese version - it comes in thin sticks or ropes in a plastic bag, looks like very thick beanthread vermicelli if you're not looking closely. Used exactly the same way.

I like kanten in mitsumame, but I don't like those strange salad-type things suspended in kanten...is it a Japanese version of US jellied salads, maybe??

Kanten will set and remain set at room temperature, but the gel will slowly lose water as time passes, making the jelly floppier and "weepy", so it's best to use it within a day, or two-three days at most.

#66 melonpan

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 12:48 AM

sold in los angeles, california

<center><img src="http://www.rawbw.com...0915agar1.jpg"> <img src="http://www.rawbw.com....jpg"></center>

the red kanten happened to have the ingredients listed on the front:

<center><img src="http://www.rawbw.com....jpg"></center>

so is this kanten or agar agar?

i think it will take some effort on my part to better learn the differences between kanten and agar agar, which i had believed to be exactly equivalent.
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#67 origamicrane

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 02:15 AM

well i think the majority of people will use it interchangeably ( is that a word? :huh: )
the difference might be down to the base ingredient but the usage, texture and taste will be hard for most people to differentiate.
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#68 Phish

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 08:47 PM

Sorry, to revive an old topic.... but i was wondering what kasutera differ from other cake recipes? Is it much more dense?

#69 melonpan

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 09:17 PM

Sorry, to revive an old topic.... but i was wondering what kasutera differ from other cake recipes? Is it much more dense?

kastella are light, spongy cakes (not dense) with a very fine crumb. lotsa eggs usually. if you were to break off a piece of kastella it would not fall apart. a pound cake, by contrast, is dense and heavier and not so spongy. and a corner broken off from a slice is more likely to fall apart into crumbs.

i think it is a derivative of some kind of a portuguese cake... but i dont know.
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#70 torakris

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 11:22 PM

here is a little bit on kasutera, mostly the name origins:

http://home.att.ne.j...7/kasutera.html

I find the taste similar to a very eggy yellow sponge cake.

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#71 jschyun

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 11:32 PM

Yes, kastella (kasutera) is essentially sponge caake, sometimes the texture is almost like angel food cake, but just slightly denser. My favorite is also matcha (green tea) flavor. I love the beautiful green color as well.

There's a lot of (ahem) borrowing that goes on between countries in the Far East. thus it is no surprise that I see it often at Korean bakeries here in Los Angeles and Orange County as well. hehe. Actually, I can't recall seeing it at the few Japanese bakeries I've tried.

recipe for matcha kastella cake (green tea chiffon cake) in English

a little history and recipe for plain version (English)

--oh no, I reread the original post and realized it asked for steamed cake recipe. steamed cake recipe will prob be different. I'll look around.

Edited by jschyun, 12 October 2004 - 11:46 PM.

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#72 Phish

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 04:52 AM

Oh wow... Thanks for the replies. And thank you jschyun, for the recipe!

#73 melonpan

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 01:49 AM

bought today at a korean bakery...

<center><img src="http://www.rawbw.com....jpg"></center>

this was a "cream cheese kastella" and it was $1.75...

it was pretty heavy. heavier than a normal kastella. just a touch tangy and very tasty. i will get these the next time in in the area, although it is a bit far from my apt.

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#74 Phish

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 09:26 AM

Fantastic fing melonpan!! Did it taste anything like a real cheese cake?

#75 torakris

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Posted 30 November 2004 - 09:09 PM

my son and I had these for a snack today

Posted Image

kuri (chestnut) manju, I got to eat the one in the picture while my son ate the rest....

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#76 torakris

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 05:19 PM

In her watashi to Tokyo blog Mari has a recent entry on wagashi with lots of links and tons of gorgeous pictures. Definitely check it out!

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#77 torakris

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 05:06 PM

Shiruko is a sweet soup made from adzuki beans boiled in a mixture of water and sugar, with grilled pieces of mochi rice cake floating in the bowl. The soup is served hot, and is one of Japan's best-known traditional sweet dishes. It is eaten as a snack, generally during some hungry moment between lunch and supper.
There are two variations—the beans can be left whole, or they can be strained when soft, to mash them and remove the skins. In western Japan, the former variety is often called zenzai. Shiruko is eaten throughout the year, but because it is served piping hot, it is considered a special treat for the cold winter months.

more from Nipponia

I love shiruko, but I have to admit it was an acquired taste that took many years!

In the winter months cans of hot shiruko start popping up in the vending machines.

and you can also buy version that you just heat up in your microwave
Posted Image
this one was made with soy milk and it was quite good. :biggrin: I think I paid about 80 yen ($0.75) for it, much cheaper than 120 yen ($1.10) for the cans....

Shiruko doesn't necessarily need to be made from adzuki (red beans), I have had incredible version that were made with black sesame seeds and one from kabocha.

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#78 torakris

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Posted 25 February 2005 - 05:37 PM

some variations

kinako shiruko roasted soybean powder

ringo shiruko apple (3rd one down)

matcha shiruko green tea

Black rice and coconut milk shiruko

even kitty-chan makes shiruko :biggrin:

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#79 is100

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 09:44 AM

hello all

While working in sydney i came across a savoury dumpling made from warabi mochi ( clams and sundried tomato in the middle) served in an edamame potage.

i loved this dish but didn't find out the recipe



could anyone tell me a recipe ( liquid volume to starch powder) and method.
I think it was made like polenta; ie a premeasured amount of starch was whisked into a prescribed volume of 60 to 70 degree centigraded liquid (dashi) and stirred until fully hydrated but i am not sure how long and this is just my guess i'm not entirely sure.

thanks for any help
:wink:

#80 torakris

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 03:37 PM

I have a recipe I have used for a sweet version filled with an (sweet red beans) and it contains quite a bit of sugar so I am not sure if removing that is going to mess up the proportions or not.
I decided to check out recipes on the internet as well and came up with many different ways to make it.
The average proportion of warabi starch to water was about 1:4~5, the sugar content varied from none to twice the amount of warabi starch.....

There are softer varieties like this one, which is similar to my recipe and then ones that are dropped in a block form into ice water and then cut into cubes like this.

Most of the recipes followed similar steps.
mix the water and warabi starch in a bowl, mixing well so that it doesn't clump or harden. Then pour through a strainer into a sauce pan and add the sugar. Place over high heat and stir constantly until it starts to bubble. Lower the heat to medium and keep stirring until it becomes transparent and thickens.
It can then be poured as a block into ice water, spooned into ice water or poured onto a sheet (covered with some kind of powder--usually kinako) but a non-stick sheet might work.
To make the savory version you want, I would follow the pictures in the first link and at the place the clam/sun dried tomato mixture in the middle of a flattened piece and then pinch the sides together, sort of like a dumpling.

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#81 Hiroyuki

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 04:38 PM

Like torakris said, I know of sweet versions only, like this:
http://www.suzumeodo.../warabimoti.htm
Basically, it is a Kansai (Western Japan) thing, and I am not very familiar with it.

You can see a video of how to make a sweet version from here:
http://www.manma-miy.../1108/1108.html
Click the photo under "recipe" to start it.

The ingredients are:
60 g warabi starch (or corn starch)
30 g sugar
2 cups water (i.e. 400 cc water)

Mix warabi flour and sugar.
Add water little by little.
Put the pan on the stove and stir well until translucent.
Keep simmering for some time.

#82 JasonTrue

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 12:21 AM

One of the sweets I brought back from Japan on my March trip...

I got this in a little gift shop in Izu. It's made with shiro-an inside, mikan-flavored. The outer dough is molded into a mikan shape.

It's a beautiful deception, and actually tastes pretty nice also. It came in a box that looks like the standard white cardboard carton in which Shizuoka mikan might be sold.

I took this photo on a plate I bought for myself from Karatsu several years ago, which has a real leaf impression in the clay; it's partially obscured.

Posted Image
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#83 torakris

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 12:55 AM

those look great!

what was the dough? more cake like or more like a manju?

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#84 JasonTrue

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 01:27 AM

those look great!

what was the dough? more cake like or more like a manju?

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It was more cakelike. The recipe seems to be wheat-based with eggs and margarine in the dough, and apparently baking powder, based on a rough extrapolation from the ingredient list. It appears that mizuame (maltose) is used as one of the sweeteners, but I'm not sure if it's in the dough or the anko or both. There's some pectin in the ingredient list but I also can't guess where that was... it might have been in an intermediary layer between the outer layer and inner filling.

Some packaged products are called manjuu here (in Seattle/the US in general) which are not actually made with mochigome, because mochigome pastry doesn't travel so well... they are "baked" manjuu, maybe.

The sweet shop has a phone number, 0557-37-3334. The name of the sweet is Shizuoka Mikan.
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#85 Evan

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 05:54 PM

Anyone try konpeito (confeito), there are different flavors from brown sugar to sakura. If you like hard candy this is the best wagashi.

http://www.hyoubando...m/satougasi.htm

Posted Image

#86 torakris

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 06:08 PM

Anyone try konpeito (confeito), there are different flavors from brown sugar to sakura.  If you like hard candy this is the best wagashi.

http://www.hyoubando...m/satougasi.htm

Posted Image

View Post


These are wonderful!
I usually buy the ones just like the bag you have pictures. :biggrin:
I am going to keep my eyes out for the sakura version...

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#87 PastryBoy

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 03:57 PM

I am having cravings for red beans lately and wanted to try making mizu yokan for the first time. All the recipes I have found use sticks of shiro kanten (white agar agar). Would I be able to substitute regular gelatin for the agar or does the agar set the jelly somehow differently (i.e., different set / texture / taste...)?
"Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?" -Frank Scully

#88 Hiroyuki

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 04:46 PM

According to this webpage, you can substitute gelatin for kanten to make mizu youkan (although I am sure that the texture will be quite different).

5.本来寒天で作るものですが、ゼラチンでかまいません。箱のレシピに応じて、水でゼリー液を作ります。
  ゼリー液とあんこを1:1で混ぜます。この時味を見て、砂糖を入れて下さい。そのままだと、多分、ハンパな甘さになります。

Rough translation:
According to the instructions on the box, make gelatin solution. Mix equal amounts of gelatin solution and anko. Check the taste and add sugar to your taste.

Edited by Hiroyuki, 31 May 2005 - 06:27 PM.


#89 torakris

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 05:48 PM

I don't work much with gelling agents but we did recently have a thread here on Japanese gelling agents that you might want to take a look at.
Most foods I have eaten that are gelled with agar agar are much firmer than those mode with gelatin. Agar agar also doe not need to be chilled to harden, so if you have a recipe that doesn't call for chilling, you will have to chill it if you use gelatin.

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#90 Kiem Hwa

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 12:55 PM

A recent find in Shirokiya: "Samejima Wagashi":
Posted Image

These were kudzu-"manju", filled with either koshi-an (smoothly mashed red beans), or with a matcha or ichigo (strawberry) flavored filling that also had the consistency of the koshi-an (maybe flavored white beans??). Oishikatta :biggrin:

What does "Samejima" mean?