Happy Friday! And if you are a buddhist, today must be an important day.
For those who are not familiar with Buddhism especially in Japan, today 8/13 is the first day of Bon festival. During Bon festival which takes place around 8/15, we believe that our ancestors are coming back home from heaven and spending time together.
I remember during bon festival, I was taken to my mom’s side of my grandfather’s house to celebrate it. I loved looking at beautiful lamps specially made for bon and treats that my grandfather gave me.
These Japanese treats called Wagashi（和菓子） isn’t what I wanted for daily snack, but only during summer and this specific wagashi called mizu-yokan(水ようかん）made me looking forward to eat. I needed to wait until my grandfather said “you can eat it now” because they were supposed to be a welcome snack for the spirits of our ancestors. I used to ask “Are you done eating them?” a lot during praying, so now as I’m being a grown up adult, I think my ancestors knew I’d grow to be such a foodie(and as you can guess, they were right!)
When I got a bag of azuki red beans, I really wanted to eat and remember my childhood of summer, so here is how you can enjoy Japanese popular wagashi together with me!
Ready for cooking? Here’s how!
Mizu Yokan (Red Bean Paste Cake)
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- 200g red bean paste Or you can make on your own with this recipe!
- 100cc water
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1 teaspoon water
- Bring gelatin and 1 teaspoon water together in a small mixing bowl and mix well.
- Combine red bean paste and water together in a pot and bring it to medium high heat. Stir well to mix them well.
- When the water is almost boiled, remove from heat and add gelatin mixture. Stir well to dissolve gelatin. Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature.
- Transfer the liquid into cups and let them cool in a fridge, for about 2 hours. Enjoy!
If you prefer a more jelly-like texture, you can add extra 100cc water.
(Hehe, my blind shield’s stick reflected in my tea so looks like a stalk of tea leaf is floating vertically. Do you know, its believed to be a symbol of luck!)
Silky yummy! Some of you may feel weird for sweet bean dessert, but beans are typically used as a topping for dessert or the treats itself in Asian cuisine. It’s just like refried beans used in Hispanic cuisine but the flavor is heavenly sweet.
I didn’t know I’d be living in the US when I was a kid. If I could go back in time and have a chance to tell myself, I’d say eat plenty of mizu yokan, you won’t be able to see them!!
<Other Japanese Themed Treats>
Another treat using bean paste. Brown Sugar Milk Bun
The sauce is addictive! Dango with Sweet Soy Sauce (Mitarashi Dango)
Matcha is getting popular all around the world! Vegan Matcha Cake
Enjoy home cooking and your own creation of homemade food:)