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torakris

Japanese foods--Wagashi

250 posts in this topic

In Japan dessert after a meal normally means a piece of fruit, sweets (wether Japanese or Western style) are rarely eaten. Wagashi traditonally were part of the tea ceremony, but today are eaten along with regular teas both green and black.

Wagashi are broken down into 3 general types:

NAMAGASHI

"raw" confections, these need to be quite soon after making because they don't preserve well. This can include fresh jellies as well as some of the mochi/bean combinations. Examples: ohagi (an oval shaped rice ball coated with red bean paste) and sakura mochi (a pink tinged, red bean paste filled rice ball wrapped in a salt preserved cherry leaf or topped with a salt preserved cherry blossom)

HAN-NAMAGASHI

"half or semi-raw", these can last a little longer the the raw ones and examples can include mizu-yokan (jelly made from red beans) and manju (steamed buns filled with red bean paste, sesame paste, or some other local speciality) and dorayaki (pancakes filled with red or white beans, custards, etc).

HIGASHI

"dry" confections, these would consist of things closer to Western style candies, as well senbei (rice crackers), though they are not normally considered sweets.

What are some of your favorite wagashi?


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I love any kind of namagashi, especially sakura-mochi.

I don't much like higashi. I'm sure long ago when fresh fruit was rare and chocolate still unknown, higashi had it's charms. But these days there's really no use for it!

I've heard there's another category (or sub-category) of sweets are 'Nanban-gashi', (southern barbarian sweets) which are western influenced; dora-yaki and tai-yaki fall into this category. And I love both!

Also love o-shiruko.


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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Although I like mizu yokan, I am not a fan of mangu and other red bean products. My grandmother was a little disappointed in my Americanized tastes, but was happy to discover that I loved kibbi dango. I think this is a specialty of Okayama where she lived; I could never find them in Yokohama or Tokyo. . .

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I am not a huge wagashi fan and only eat them when they are given to me as a a gift (ie I never buy them).

I find mizu yokan extremely bland and rarely enjoy it.

I do like the shiro-an (white bean paste) much better then the red and

if I had to choose a favorite It would be cafe au lait daifuku (not exactly tradional) followed closely by sakura mochi.

I picked up some salt preserved cherry blossoms a litttle while ago inteding to make my own, but have yet to do it. :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Hi, I hope I am in the right forum but I was just wondering if anyone had good recipes specifically for taiyaki (the fish-shaped little cakes usually filled with An--similar to dorayaki). I had really good ones at a restaurant down in California and have been trying to replicate that at home with my taiyaki mold.

I've tried Dorayaki recipes but I'd like something less pancake-y. I've also heard that there are recipes using some sort of strawberry or strawberry cream filling (that would be fun) but searching on the internet is hard when I can't read the japanese characters. _ANY_ help would be appreciated :biggrin: .

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You have a taiyaki mold? Cool!

I found a recipe in Japanese which may be a bit too simple and pancakey for you. It is in Japanese, but I'll post the link and if there is someone out there with time hopefully they can translate it properly for you:

http://www.hpmix.com/home/tara/C8_8.htm

Basicly, you mix 100g pancake mix with milk and egg (the measurement says that it's 120g total, including milk and one large egg. Strange.). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes, mix again roughly and add 1 Tbsp to an oiled and heated taiyaki mold. Then add 20 grams of 'tsubu-an (chunky anko) and another Tbsp batter making sure to cover the filling.

Then grill, turning over often, until golden-brown (no time is given).

Anything can be used as a filling: tsubu-an, koshi-an (smooth anko), shiro-an (white anko), custard cream, chocolate cream, mashed sweet potato, cheese etc. Small chunks of fruit or shira-tama (little balls made out of mochi-flour) can also be added to the filling.

Good luck!

PS, do you eat the head or the tail first?


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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Basicly, you mix 100g pancake mix with milk and egg (the measurement says that it's 120g total, including milk and one large egg. Strange.). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes, mix again roughly and add 1 Tbsp to an oiled and heated taiyaki mold. Then add 20 grams of 'tsubu-an (chunky anko) and another Tbsp batter making sure to cover the filling.

Then grill, turning over often, until golden-brown (no time is given).

Actually the 120 grams the recipe is referring to is the combined egg and milk (not the flour)

so but the bowl on a scale break in the egg and then add the milk til it hits 120 grams.

I have never seen them measure milk like that interesting.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I am not really a big fan of taiyaki and don't own a mold so I have never attempted to make it.

If I run across any recipes I will post them.

by the way, welcome to egullet! :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Thank you all for the feedback :). I will try it out.

I do in fact like eating the tail first, especially if they get that little bit of extra an in the tail :smile: .

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Tail first, of course! Save the sweet fat head for last.

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Ok- prepare for a generalization: IMHO, as far as desserts are concerned, I posit that both Chinese and Japanese cuisine must bow to the superiority of desserts from the Western European continent. I mean, there is only so much you can do with sweet beans in its gazillion manifestations (and I find each type of Japanese dessert has a Chinese or Korean analog, no surprise there due to a shared cultural/genetic heritage which they are still loathe to admit).

In my case, after an excellent Japanese dinner, I skip dessert and go find myself a western establishment for the last course.


Edited by Wimpy (log)

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Ok- prepare for a generalization: IMHO, as far as desserts are concerned, I posit that both Chinese and Japanese cuisine must bow to the superiority of desserts from the Western European continent.  I mean, there is only so much you can do with sweet beans in its gazillion manifestations (and I find each type of Japanese dessert has a Chinese or Korean analog, no surprise there due to a shared cultural/genetic heritage which they are still loathe to admit).

In my case, after an excellent Japanese dinner, I skip dessert and go find myself a western establishment for the last course.

i will agree with that as far as both japanese and chinese desserts, although i expect that to apply across asia.

desserts probably are barely even afterthoughts, and it has been oft repeated that asians will usually just eat fruit. dessert is not viewed as a sweet end to the meal, a contrast or anything like that, IMO.

the last dish is more of a palate cleanser; even better, it is intended to settle the stomach.

i would say that the recent emergence (i expect that sweet soups and the like to have emerged within the last 30 years, although i actually haven't done any research) of desserts is more of a pressure to conform with western sensibilities than anything else.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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Wimpy

you have a very good point.

I don't know about the Chinese, but the Japanese don't consider these to be desserts in the Western sense and I can't really thing of anyone who eats these after a meal. Their name okashi actually means snack, the Japanese don't really have a word for dessert. They were originally intended to me side dishes to the green tea which can account for some of their cloying sweetness (to counteract the bitterness of the tea).

Even the Western sweets eaten in Japan are rarely eaten after a meal, especially in homes) they are tea time snacks usually eaten in the middle of the afternoon.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I really do have a bone to pick about East Asian sweets. I think the potential exists in terms of a resource base of techniques and ingredients, but the prevailing aesthetic values tend to put appearance over substance. Hence I have to agree with Wimpy regarding what exists in practice today.

I seem to recall reading (sorry, I don't remember the exact citation) that "high class" producers such as Toraya or Minamoto Kitchoan (the most widely distributed ones internationally) seem to put more sugar into their wagashi than is contained the ordinary supermarket product. The same overreliance on sugar also seems to be true (from admittedly unrepresentative experience) for Korean and Chinese sweets as well (other than plain ricecakes).

Snobbery aside, this seems to me extremely wrong-headed. The best and most unique indigenous East Asian sweet flavorings such as citron, mugwort, cherry blossom leaves, etc. have fairly mild flavors that are overpowered by large amounts of sugar. The same goes for perfumed ingredients adopted from Chinese medicine such as omija ("five flavored berry" Korean reading), boxthorn, and of course ginseng. The main components of East Asian sweets, such as glutinous rice and various bean pastes, also have a fairly mild flavor in comparison to butter, eggs. chocolate, etc. So, if anything, East Asian sweets ought to contain substantially less sugar than Western sweets.

I would love it if someone would launch a line of "nouveau" wagishi that are less sweet and take advantage of local ingredients in a more sensitive fashion.


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Thankfully however, for those living in Japan (especially Tokyo), it has a wealth of great places offering very authentic western desserts (in general including pastries, etc.). In my experience, outside of the places of origin such as Vienna or Paris, Tokyo patisseries and other purveyors of western desserts really do a bang up job in taste & authenticity.

In other words, you have the best of both worlds in Tokyo without having to suffer yet another bean confection...

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Wimpy, I agree! And the fact that western-style sweets have become so popular in Japan (indeed, many young Japanese can't eat wagashi) is proof that many Japanese agree too. I used to think that the Japanese should have given up on wagashi the minute they tasted chocolate (and I still feel that way when I'm coerced into eating mizu-yokan or mitsu-ame).

However, once you get used to it, there really are some excellent wagashi. Especially if you think of them as a sweet rather than a desert. True, sweet beans and mochi aren't as versatile as chocolate and pastry, but they still make great sweets.


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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I've always loved the little ritual that you receive when you arrive at a ryokan. They offer you a hot hand towel, a nice cuppa green tea and a wagashi. I think the whole experience will be wrecked if they offered you a slice of cheesecake and a coke. :biggrin:

Wagashi is more art than taste if you ask me. Certainly prettier just to look at than eat.

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On the pictures of Japanese food thread Comfort me asked:

Please, please please -- if any of you have a recipe for syrup rice balls on a skewer could you give me a heads up? Is it mochi, heated under a broiler or on a grill? What is the syrup? Why is it calling to me like a hooker to a sailor? I can't get the image out of my head!

These are called mitarashi dango and there are a variety of toppings for them, popular ones include anko (red bean paste), paste made with black sesame seeds and soy based sauces, one a lot thinner than the other, and these are both heated ove a fire.

The recipes for these can vary slightly but you will need rice flour. In Japan there are two types used for these dangos, here is a picture of what they look like

i3158.jpg

on the left is shiratamako (白玉粉) and the right is joushinko (上新粉)

shiratamako is a rice flour made sweet glutinous rice and is also sometimes in the US called mochiko flour. The name means white ball flour and if you look you will see that is exactly what it is.

joushinko is rice flour made from non-glutinous rice

The recipe I use calls for both of these to be mixed together, but I have seen recipes that call just for joushinko. Normally these are kneaded with some water and then steamed for close to an hour, my recipe uses a microwave..... :blink::biggrin:

I will make them a little later today with the 2 different soy sauce toppings and will then post the pictures and recipes here.

Please be patient a little longer. :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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sorry I completely forgot about posting this! I have had these pictures sitting in my camera for days now..... :blink:

mitarashi dango

(enough for 4 skewers, you can probably double this but will need to increase the microwave time)

in a microwavable bowl mix together:

70 grams joushinko

30 grams shiratamko

120 ml water

i3355.jpg

then cover it with saran wrap and place it in a microwave and heat for 2 minutes, remove the wrap and mix it well with a wooden spoon, it is quite tough.

i3354.jpg

cover the bowl with wrap again and place it back in the microwave for another 2 minutes. Place it into a wet multi layer cheesecloth or clean towel and knead it for several minutes.

(picture is before kneading)

i3353.jpg

Separate the large ball into 12 small balls and place them 3 to a skewer. My kids made these, they should be a little bit smoother.

i3351.jpg

now for the sauce, place in a small pan:

3 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon mirin

1 teaspoon flour

mix while heating to boiling and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 seconds.

i3352.jpg

spoon or brush the sauce onto the dango (balls) and place in a broiler, , on a net over a flame, or directly over the flame of your stove (this may drip and make a mess though!) until there are some blackened spots.

i3350.jpg

Enjoy!

NOTES:

This was made in a Japanese microwave, where the average in only 500 watts (mine is supposedly a 900W but works like a 500W), if yours is stronger you will need to decrease the cooking time.

The sauce I made was for the thinner style sauce that I prefer, for a thicker, almost creamy sauce, in a pan add:

3 Tablespoons of sugar

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon katakuriko (Japanese potato starch) or a little bit more cornstarch

4 Tablespoons water

mix until the katakuriko is dissolved, tehn turn on the heat and simmer until thickened. Spread on the dango and heat over a flame.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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No one mentioned about Nama Yatsuhashi. It is traditional Kyoto Wagashi, and it is soooooo delicious! There are Yaki Yatsuhashi, which is Higashi, and Nama Yatsuhashi, which is Namagashi.

Shogoin Yatsuhashi company website (japanese only)

These are a type of the nama yatsuhashi, they were sakura ones, made with white an (bean paste) and chopped up salt preserved sakura (cherry blossoms).

They were incredible! :biggrin:

i3751.jpg


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Didn't think that Koreans were into wagashi, but recently my wife received from one of her students a very nice package of Korean-made sweets from a company called "Hwakwaja", which is the Korean translation of the characters (화과자 = 和菓子) for wagashi.

i3450.jpg

Here they are <as far as I can tell, we haven't eaten them all yet) - from top to bottom, left to right:

  • walnut cream, dried persimmon cream, chestnut cream, azuki cream, almond cream
  • ???, chestnut mochi, dried persimmon mochi, azuki mochi, ???
  • whole chestnut manju, pie (?) manju, dried persimmon manju, walnut manju, another whole chestnut manju


Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Hi - I'm Janet, new to EGullet.

In the past six months, I have become seriously intregued by Asian sweets, and have made NYC Chinatown my second home. But I have a question or two...

1) Can anyone tell me the difference (if there is one) between Mochi and Daifuku?

2)And is Daifuku the exact same thing as the steamed gulutinous rice balls with an beans that one finds in all the Chinese bakeries? Or is there a different name for that?

3) Are there any books that focus on Japanese desserts/sweets?

Thanks so much in advance (Glad to be here!)


Mochi, Foi Thong and Rojak - what more can a girl want from life?

http://www.frombruneiandbeyond.com

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Mochi is what daifuku is covered with, if I'm understanding which snacks you're talking about. Mochi is also made in solid cake form without fillings and can be eaten by itself.

Daifuku is similar to the Chinese snack you're thinking of (jeen doy), insomuch as both are filled with sweet red bean paste, and both have that chewy rice flour coating. But the type of rice flour used is different, daifuku is made with mochiko which has a more tender texture, and jeen doy is made with glutinous rice flour, which has a chewier texture. Also, jeen doy is deep fried and covered in sesame seeds, whereas mochi and daifuku is steamed.

The red beans themselves are different too, Chinese red beans vs. adzuki beans. Though I can't especially tell the difference between the two unless I taste one after the other in a taste test. They're both good.

And welcome to egullet. :smile:

Pat


Edited by Sleepy_Dragon (log)

"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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mochi-ko, which Sleepy_Dragon mentioned, is also known as shiratama-ko (and also gyuhi-ko). According to a site, gyuhi-ko is the same as mochi-ko, but shiratama-ko is slightly different from them in manufacturing process and particle size.

All these are made from mochi gome (glutinous rice).

Note that certain sweets such as kuzu-mochi (arrowroot mochi) and warabi-mochi (bracken mochi) are not made from mochi-ko but from other types of starch, usually potato starch. (As their names suggest, kuzu-mochi and warabi-mochi used to be made from arrowroot starch and bracken root starch, respectively, which are now very expensive.)

Mochi used to make daifuku and other sweets contains sugar, which keeps mochi from hardening.

EDIT:

I wonder if ichigo daifuku (strawberry daifuku) are sold in the US. They were invented 16 to 17 years ago in Japan, and are now very popular.


Edited by Hiroyuki (log)

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