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torakris

Japanese foods--Wagashi

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So is the Bunmeido in Hawaii a branch from a chain in Japan? 

A resounding "Yes!" I really wish we had a Bunmeido branch here in Vancouver... :sad:


Baker of "impaired" cakes...

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As for the Nagasaki Kasutera, do they just put in some refined maltose, or some ingredient with a high maltose content?  Id be interested to try out different recipes (Nagasaki vs Tokyo).

Sorry, my translation must have been confusing. What they put in is mizuame. Here is a description of mizuame:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mizuame

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mizuame - rice malt, like corn syrup, but much stiffer - that's one reason why people sometimes substitute honey.

Kasutera is traditionally cooked in wooden molds, which does prevent it from burning easily. It's therefore a great recipe to cook in disposable paper-case bakeware.


Edited by helenjp (log)

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Just thinking of mizuame makes my mouth water! Natsukashii! :biggrin:

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Todays's edition of "Me Ga Ten" featured warabi.  They say that warabi ko (flour) costs 20,000 yen per 1 kg (2.2 lb.) and its starch particles are small and spherical, giving warabi mochi its smooth texture.  A wagashi maker at Ikko-an kneaded warabi paste for 30 minutes with a pestle-like tool.

You can see a photo of warabi mochi of Ikko-an here and here.

I have never eaten real warabi mochi...  Now I crave it :sad: .

I heard that warabi mochi is a kansai thing, is this true? warabi mochi is my favorite wagashi. I am lucky there are two wagashi vendors that have very good warabi mochi near my house, and the upscale supermarket sometimes has it for 100yen for 7 pieces. I like the kinako type the best. I think I will try to make warabi mochi if I see warabiko anywhere.

I dont eat warabi mochi or bracken often because it has been shown to cause stomach cancer (source: English, Japanese):

Bracken has been shown to be carcinogenic and is thought to be an important cause of the high incidence of stomach cancer in Japan.

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Todays's edition of "Me Ga Ten" featured warabi.  They say that warabi ko (flour) costs 20,000 yen per 1 kg (2.2 lb.) and its starch particles are small and spherical, giving warabi mochi its smooth texture.  A wagashi maker at Ikko-an kneaded warabi paste for 30 minutes with a pestle-like tool.

You can see a photo of warabi mochi of Ikko-an here and here.

I have never eaten real warabi mochi...  Now I crave it :sad: .

I heard that warabi mochi is a kansai thing, is this true? warabi mochi is my favorite wagashi. I am lucky there are two wagashi vendors that have very good warabi mochi near my house, and the upscale supermarket sometimes has it for 100yen for 7 pieces. I like the kinako type the best. I think I will try to make warabi mochi if I see warabiko anywhere.

I dont eat warabi mochi or bracken often because it has been shown to cause stomach cancer (source: English, Japanese):

Bracken has been shown to be carcinogenic and is thought to be an important cause of the high incidence of stomach cancer in Japan.

Yes, that's true. Warabi mochi is mainly a Kansai thing. I think this has been discussed somewhere in the Japan Forum. In Osaka, you can see warabi mochi peddlers in the summertime. Helen must be familiar with them.

I know warabi contains a cancer-causing substance. My opinion is that two or three warabi shoots a day when they are in season won't cause you any harm.

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Does anyone know of a good place in or around Tokyo where I can see types of wagashi (Japanese sweets) being made or speak to someone who specializes in the making of wagashi? I love that it is so much of an art form - and so delicious - and will be in Tokyo in the coming months, I would love to study this artistic delicacy.

I was reading about the Toraya company...I know they have several boutique shops around Tokyo but do they actually make their foods there or is there a main factory?

Thanks in advance!

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I have just sent them (Toraya) an inquiry about your questions.

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I have just sent them (Toraya) an inquiry about your questions.

oh wow, thank you so much! i have a lot of good research materials, like their website and other sites that discuss the influences and ingredients of wagashi, but it would be really cool if i could find someone whose life centers around it - the passion is so interesting.

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In case you did not come across these sites on your websearch.

http://www.midorikai.org/wagashi_recipe_index.html

http://konny.fc2web.com/info/jsweets_e.html

http://www.geocities.com/scocasso/mochi/mochidex.htm

Also, check out the book, "Wagashi" by Mutsuo Takahashi. Other than having beautiful pictures, it contains short information on the different types of wagashi as well as how they came about and what they are supposed to resemble.

Do let us know more information about your project as it unfolds....Wagashi is a topic I'm deeply interested in too.

Cheers!

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I have just sent them (Toraya) an inquiry about your questions.

oh wow, thank you so much! i have a lot of good research materials, like their website and other sites that discuss the influences and ingredients of wagashi, but it would be really cool if i could find someone whose life centers around it - the passion is so interesting.

I think you already received my personal email about the reply from Toraya.

I sent another inquiry to Ikkoan, famous for its warabi mochi, and got a reply last night. It says that partly because they are in a busy season, they don't provide tours for first-time customers. :sad:

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I have just sent them (Toraya) an inquiry about your questions.

oh wow, thank you so much! i have a lot of good research materials, like their website and other sites that discuss the influences and ingredients of wagashi, but it would be really cool if i could find someone whose life centers around it - the passion is so interesting.

I think you already received my personal email about the reply from Toraya.

I sent another inquiry to Ikkoan, famous for its warabi mochi, and got a reply last night. It says that partly because they are in a busy season, they don't provide tours for first-time customers. :sad:

oh that's alright. thanks so much for your help anyway!

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I'm taking a class right now at the University of Washington on the tea ceremony. As part of the class we actually practice the ceremony, and each week we get to try a different kind of wagashi.

This week there was an interesting kind that my teacher didn't know the name of, and I'd like to know what exactly it is. This is how he explained it was made: it's made out of kanten and sugar basically, then cut into pieces after it sets up, and is allowed to dry. This makes the outside hard, while the inside stays gelatinous - almost liquidy.

I guess they're really popular in the summer because they resemble ice, so they have a "cool" connotation. The ones I tried came from Japan with a visiting student, and my teacher said that he didn't think they were really available in the US, or at least not in Seattle.

Any idea what this is called? And where I could get some more? The taste wasn't anything special, but they looked really, really cool, and I liked the texture a lot.

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I'm taking a class right now at the University of Washington on the tea ceremony. As part of the class we actually practice the ceremony, and each week we get to try a different kind of wagashi.

This week there was an interesting kind that my teacher didn't know the name of, and I'd like to know what exactly it is. This is how he explained it was made: it's made out of kanten and sugar basically, then cut into pieces after it sets up, and is allowed to dry. This makes the outside hard, while the inside stays gelatinous - almost liquidy.

I guess they're really popular in the summer because they resemble ice, so they have a "cool" connotation. The ones I tried came from Japan with a visiting student, and my teacher said that he didn't think they were really available in the US, or at least not in Seattle.

Any idea what this is called? And where I could get some more? The taste wasn't anything special, but they looked really, really cool, and I liked the texture a lot.

I found one that may match your description: wari goori

Click the URL below and view the fourth and fifth photos.

http://www.h7.dion.ne.jp/~k_diary/favorite.html

Wari goori is a product of Murakami, located in Kanazawa:

Official website of Murakami:

http://www.wagashi-murakami.com/index.html

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That looks like the stuff, Hiroyuki. Thanks! I'll have to look into it more now that I know the name.

According to that wagashi shop's website, wari goori (lit. cracked ice) is made by drying kanten slowly for six days.

One 150-g box (red or blue) costs 700 yen.

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That looks like the stuff, Hiroyuki. Thanks! I'll have to look into it more now that I know the name.

According to that wagashi shop's website, wari goori (lit. cracked ice) is made by drying kanten slowly for six days.

One 150-g box (red or blue) costs 700 yen.

I'm not sure if it's the same, but the other day I had a bit of usutsuyu from a depachika counter. It was made with kanten, was a bit hard and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and it had adzuki beans in it. I quite liked them, and I could buy individual servings for only Y80 each!

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Warabimochi = stomach cancer!!? Oh no! I've never heard of this. It's one of my favorite summer-time desserts!

...

But I'm sure that the high stomach cancer rate in Japanese people must be from all of the salt.

yunnermeier, try making shiratama dango and putting it over ice cream or crushed ice.

Warabimochi is eaten by the entire country now, kind of like natto.

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Chihiran:

I ended up making a bastardised wagashi. :D

The dough was really sticky ,probably because I didn't leave it on the pan long enough, so after 8 small mochi (had to use a spoon), I threw the rest of the dough away.

I wanted something quick and fast so I made chocolate mochi with frozen nutella ,dusted with cocoa. It tasted OK but I decided that truffles would probably be better..as in the mochi didn't taste great because it was chocolate (sort of like..if you want to eat chocolate, eat real chocolate instead of mochi +chocolate..sorry i'm crap at explaining).

But I'm definitely going to try shiratama dango :)

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What are some of your favorite wagashi?

I was never that interested in wagashi until my dad passed away. He loved these sweets so when I came across a Kyoto sweet, nama yatsuhashi (both my parents were from Kyoto) I wanted to try some. Of course, I’m in Florida, nama yatsuhashi isn’t so I asked my mom if she had ever made it. I knew she had made lots of daifuku, but sadly she said she never tried to make nama yatsuhashi. Ontop of it, the nama yatsuhashi she remembered never had fillings as they do now. However, she was fascinated and we made a deal; if I found the recipe, we’d make it together when I visited her over the summer.

After foraging through this terrific forum, I tracked two or three recipes and emailed my mom about the ingredients we would need. I had no idea what the difference was between shiratamako and jyoshinko and to be honest, my mom wasn’t sure either. Her favorite Korean market had neither, but my mom said we could use mochiko instead of the shiratamako and the grocer recommended a non-glutinous rice flour from Thailand.

All in all, it was a straight-forward recipe, except the first attempt was a “microwave” disaster. It would be the first of many before I would finally give up on doing wagashi near a microwave. We dumped the first batch (thank god the recipes were all small batches) and used the steaming method. I had a hard time trusting that the brownish blob in the steamer would turn into a pliable dough but my mom’s experience with making the mochi for daifuku overruled my initial concerns.

The best part of the cooking was doing this with my mom and having my niece and nephew watch the process. At first they seemed pretty bored, but then they started to become fascinated because they had never seen anything like this before.

Granted the first batch was not a pretty sight. My mom kept telling me I was rolling the dough too thin, but I was being a little too fixated with the fancy pictures I had seen on websites of transluscent pink, green and white yatsuhashi cakes filled with an. Again, mom won the battle so the nama yatsuhashi was thick, like a pie crust. Some of them I filled with the koshian, some I left au naturuel. The peanut gallery was divided down the middle as to which was superior: nephew went for the plain, niece went for the koshian. The thing that surprised me the most was that I liked the filled version. It’s surprising because I really don’t like koshian. But there was something about the combination of the cinnamon, the slight contrasts in texture (grainy koshian, smooth mochi) that was very appealing.

We ended up making a total of three batches during my two weeks visit. It was an approachable wagashi, but more importantly, I really became addicted to making them. Maybe because they use ingredients that are foreign to me, or maybe it's the family connection. Either way, I’m addicted.

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Fascinating story, Cheeko. (I must confess that every time I write Cheeko, it reminds of my wife, whose name sounds like Cheeko :biggrin: .)

I've never made wagashi in the microwave, but I've made purin (Japanese pudding) so many times in the microwave when my children were smaller. The tip is to heat it several times, say, for 4 minutes first, then 2 minutes, and then 30 seconds, while keeping an eye on it so that it doesn't boil over. This also applies to heating mochi. Heat it several times, say, for 40 seconds first and then 20 seconds, while keeping an eye on it so that it doesn't explode and then turn flat on the plate.

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Heat it several times, say, for 40 seconds first and then 20 seconds, while keeping an eye on it so that it doesn't explode and then turn flat on the plate.

I've done that too! :biggrin: I have a picture somewhere of mochi I didn't pay attention to. It blew into a bubble, then went molten-black. That was when I decided I should try old-fashion heating methods for the time being.

Thanks Hiroyuki for the advice. I think I might need to stick to stove-top and steamer just so I can get used to what consistencies I need to look for in the various doughs before using the microwave. Many of the recipes I have found online are microwave-based. Granted, the microwave is faster and more convenient, but is unforgiving to a novice like me. I tend not to trust the initial few minutes of microwaving, and then go too far.

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... popular in the summer because they resemble ice, so they have a "cool" connotation...

They're really easy to make. Break up and soak one stick of kanten, then transfer to 275ml of water and heat gently until melted. Strain, return to pan, mix in 300g sugar, and heat to simmer. Cool a bit, tint, and flavor as you like, then cast in a mold (appropriate-sized flat pan will do).

The thicker, broken edged version mentioned already is one version, but it's also nice to cast them about 4mm thick and use small cookie cutters, too (maple leaf, plum blossom, that sort of thing). It's best to wet the mold and cutters. The cut shapes can then be transfered to a rack; allow them to dry until tacky and dredge in caster sugar, or allow to dry longer until they have a nice crust (as you describe; as they are thinner this won't be much longer than a day). Pack them up until ready to serve.

My tea instructor tends to flavor with mint, lemon, and so forth (not too much), but I've had entertaining results with other flavors - add some cardamon pods or saffron to the mix when you simmer it.

Best,

John

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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.

Now I am curious as to how the different processing affects the end product.

Shiratamako – flour made from mochigome that has been soaked in water for a few days

Mochiko – flour made from dry mochigome

Jyoshinko – made from nonglutinous rice

Wagashi uses different combinations of these flours. I can see and feel the differences, but if I wanted to change the texture/bite of a wagashi, I’m wondering which one is “chewier” and which one is tender?

Is there really a noticeable difference between mochiko and shiratamako once the cake is finished? I often see it used interchangeably – is that more for convenience? And what role does the jyoshinko play. I guess I am thinking too much like a baker, but it does make me wonder.

I guess what I should do is a taste-taste with hanamidango – do one that’s exclusively mochiko, the other shiratamako, then one that’s a blend of shiratamako and jyoshinko.

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