The Japanese are sweet lovers. Now, all sorts of Western and Asian sweets can be found in big cities, and there are many talented bakers.
Wagashi means “Japanese sweets”, and it refers to the snack, usually sweet, served with tea. Eating desserts is not the custom. You eat lunch at 11~12 , then at 3 pm, you have a sweet with tea.
The bulk of wagashi are made on a base of 2 ingredients : rice and azuki beans. And the artisans carve hundreds of refined designs -inspired by nature and seasonal events. So you may have the impression that they all taste the same and are only decorative. Actually, even in traditional shops, there exist many other flavors, sesame, roast soy beans, sweet potato, nuts, yuzu, chestnut, ume plum, cherry blossom, matcha, dry fruits, cassia cinnamon…
I have no ambition to compete in refinement of making with the famous shops. I have them on occasions, not too often as the quality ones are not cheap. Making my snacks is mostly a hobby and a way to avoid the supermarket range ones.
My home-made wagashi don’t always follow the traditional recipes, but I try to indicate when I adapt. Usually, I want mines to be less sweetened.
BASIC RECIPES FOR HOME-MADE WAGASHI
There are several sweet pastes called “an”.
“anko” the most common is made of red azuki beans. Other beans are used too, white for “shiro an”, and also red, yellow, black…
“kimi-an” is yellow and egg flavored. “kuri-an” is made with chestnut. Etc
Making anko (brown filling) from the beans. Tsubuan and koshian. Easy recipe.
Making kimi-an (yellow filling, with egg)
Rice, rice flour, processed rice flours
Making o-hagi, the basic wagashi (from rice)
Making daifuku mochi from mochiko (from mochi flour)
Making kashiwa-mochi (from joshinko rice flour)
kuzu, kudzu :
warabi (bracken) :
agar agar :
Gold and Chestnut : kuri kinton
Kuri, the sweet (2nd style of kuri kinton)
Kimi-an dango, Japanese sweets like pearls of gold
Cubes of refreshment : heart-heaven in black sweetness
ichigo-dama (strawberry pearls)
Setsubun (start of Spring festival)
About wagashi and mochi from the shop… (Summer)
Yatsuhashi for sakura season (from the shop)
Assorted Spring wagashi (from the shop)
Kashiwa-mochi for Children Day, May 5th (from the shop)
Other dessert compilations :
Crazy and Healthy Sweets (compilation)