Ubatama

Photo and shape could be better. It’s an experiment + we have totally awful dark days of typhon. Not enough light for photos. I’ll do some again, nicer.

It’s a wagashi (Japanese sweet), great for Summer. it looks like a truffle caught in ice. They are very refreshing.

Ubatama is the name of the peyote cactus. So maybe the shape comes from that… or the cactus was named after the sweet. Tama is ball. Uba may mean “bird wing”, like black crow wing. But there are different writings.

It’s koshian (smooth azuki bean paste) flavored with kurozato (black sugar), in a agar agar jelly.

I should have colored the jelly. I’ll know next time.
They were delicious. The black sugar gives them a pleasant old-fashioned flavor.

Spring tea sweets, from the shop

These wagashi sweets are beautifully shaped, not very flavored and very sweet… they are designed for the tea ceremony. Patterns and colors vary with the season.

The moon in the night.

The arrow.

The flower.

The fish, probably koi carps as it is the season of “koi nobori“, when families that have little boys fly kites in shape of koi carps at their windows.

The flower and the fish are made with the neri-kiri technique. It’s a very soft paste, easy to carve… but very fragile.

Inside, it’s koshi-an, the smooth anko (azuki bean paste).

The eye is made of kanten (agar-agar).

The arrow is also filled with the same koshi-an.

The white part is more cake-like. It’s like karukan mochi. It contains yama-imo potato.

From the shop : kashiwa-mochi, oak leaf sweet

Lucky ! You’ve found a pearl in your oak leaf.
This sweet is eaten in this season, and particularly on May 5th , for the Children Day.

This one is bought. That’s why it is more perfect than mines. Hey, baker is a job and you don’t get the professional skill overnight.
It’s really shiny, and harder in texture than daifuku mochi. The recipe is different.

Use the little wood knife to cut it…

It’s filled with koshi-an (smooth anko bean paste). Good texture and taste but… it’s too sweet for my mouth.

No ! Don’t eat the leaf. It is only a packaging, and I need it !
Yes, the most difficult is to collect those big leaves of Japanese oak. They are not common in the city. I guess you need to go in the mountain and use a ladder. So I recycle…

kashiwa maison , made with the recycled leaves

Making kashiwa-mochi (from joshinko rice flour)

Wagashi Saga : Photo-menu of all Japanese sweet posts.

Easy making of koshian anko (fine textured azuki bean paste)

Azuki (adzuki) beans.

Definition :
Anko is a sweet paste, made from these small Asian beans. Anko is one of the most common ingredients for making Japanese sweets, so this is a basic.

Ingredients :
Azuki beans. Sugar, syrup or any sweetener you like.
Other types of beans can be prepared the same way. White beans (similar to “Navy beans”) are often used to make the white “an”.

I was not too happy with the color of my photos… it varies indeed, it’s nicer in reality than on my shots. What matters is the texture, so I covered with fancy filters.

MAKING ANKO (tsubuan and koshian)

Rinse. Cover with 4 volumes of water. Soak one night (in the fridge in Summer).

Drain (optional, you can keep the soaking water, final color may differ). Transfer into a pasta pot with plenty of water, bring to boil. Pass to medium heat. Take away the white foam. Cover and cook (medium heat) until beans are soft. Depending on quantity that takes me 40 min to 1 hour. Drain.
Rem : You can cook them in a steam-cooker if you have a functional one, it’s faster. You can use a crock-pot, but boiling the beans about 10 minutes is necessary to eliminate toxic substance, so if your crock-pot cannot boil, start in a pot and transfer after taking away the foam.

Paste in a mortar (or with a fork).

This is tsubuan (chunky bean paste). In Kansai, this is the favorite texture.

Make it finer this way :

This is koshian (fine bean paste), it’s the prefered “anko” in Kanto area. Well, both types are available everywhere in Japan.

Sweetening (easy way) :

Add syrup to either tsubuan or koshian. I use already prepared kuro mitsu, black sugar syrup. You can make a syrup with sugar and water. Make it at your taste. You can freeze the paste.

Rem : In some recipes, you add lots of sugar (same weight as beans) and simmer it with the beans before pasting. You obtain a “azuki jam”. You can buy it already made. It can be stored without freezing. The inconvenient is it’s much sweeter.

Koshian (fine paste), prepared as mizu-yokan. This time, the color is more chocolaty, that depends on the beans. I have had redder ones, but these brown ones are particularly taste.

Mizu-yokan and nashi

Wagashi Saga : Photo-menu of all Japanese sweet posts.