Japanese Summer Desserts
It is Hot! Sadly, Summer time is almost over, but it's never too late for dessert; yummy delicious Japanese desserts. They're drastically different than what we're used to here in the states. Where most of our sweets are made with flour, butter, and cream; in Japanese cuisine, glutinous rice, agar agar gelatin, green tea and sweetened azuki red beans are used as confectionery staples. Let AsianFoodGrocer.com take you on a tour that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Our first stop on our tour is a sweet and giggly dish known as Kuzumochi. It is made using a powder from the Kuzu root, sugar, and water. Much like glutinous rice, it is formed into rectangular cakes. Its texture is in between gelatin and mochi but it's not as sticky. This traditional vegan dessert is usually served chilled with a drizzle of molasses or honey on top and a dusting of ground toasted soy bean powder called Kinako. The Kinako adds a light peanut buttery taste to the dish.
Next up is a super simple dish known as Azuki Shiratama. Shiratama refers to the sweetened rice cakes, while Azuki is a type of red beans. Served with chilled, chewy mochi and sweet red beans, this delicious confection is very easy to prepare. It is also not uncommon to find scoops of vanilla or green tea ice cream served alongside it.
Speaking of ice cream, Green Tea ice cream is also a very popular summer snack. A fine green tea powder known as Matcha is added to the custard of the ice cream when mixing. It is also what gives each scoop its pale green hue.
Another cool Japanese food is Yokan. This dense food is made with red beans and agar agar gelatin. Yokan is really thick and really sweet. Novice eaters should stick to thinner slices. In hot weather, more water is added to the mixture to give it a lighter texture.
If you like different textures in you dishes then you would love Anmitsu. It's a traditional Japanese dessert that has cubes of agar agar jelly, fresh fruit slices, red bean paste, and a dollop of ice cream. Mmmm! That's good eating.
Time for some Kakigori! By now you've noticed the trend in Japanese sweets. Red bean and Green Tea are in everything! Although that may be true, this one has a slight difference. It is made with shaved ice! Green tea syrup along with sweetened condensed milk is drizzled on top, while the ever present red beans hold up its base. Wish the ice cream man had these in my neighborhood.
And last but not least, we can't forget mochi ice cream! Sweet glutinous rice is formed into balls, colored with natural food coloring, and then injected with creamy delicious ice cream. Flavors range from the standard vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate to Japanese favorites like green tea, red bean, and mango. If you can find them they are a definite must try.
Most of these fantastic desserts can be created using the products that we offer here on our website. The recipes are really simple and the results are to die for. Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer, and remember to stay cool!