I was left with some unused red bean paste and a bunch of frozen chestnuts ever since Mid Autumn Festival so I need to think of some ways to get rid of them. One treats that I made was Red Bean Sticky Rice Roll and this time I’ve decided to make some Japanese desserts.
Yokan is a Japanese confectionery (wagashi) made with red bean paste, sugar and kanten (agar agar). It is solidified in a rectangular mold and then cut into little pieces before serving. The type of yokan I made is called mizu yokan, which is the softer kind made with a higher water ratio. I used a log shaped silicon mold with small cavities for individual dessert. For traditional block shape, this portion will fit in any 1-L rectangular food container.
I developed my recipe with reference to the mizu yokan recipes from Yamashita Masataka’s book Tanoshii Wagashi: Little Bites of Japanese Delights and Fumiyo Kawakami’s book 糕點教科書：60種精選甜點500個必學訣竅. I tried making small batches of mizu yokan with and without arrowroot/kuzu powder and with various water content over the weekend just to figure out what I liked most. I discovered that the ones made without arrowroot powder had water separation the next day. The ones containing arrowroot powder didn’t have this issue and the texture was also smoother and shinier. My first batch contained chestnuts but both of my kids didn’t seem to enjoy it. They picked them all out so later I simply ditched the chestnut. However, I have included the methods at the end of the post in case my readers are interested in making mizu yokan with chestnut.
食譜參考了Yamashita Masataka的《Tanoshii Wagashi: Little Bites of Japanese Delights》和川上文代的《糕點教科書：60種精選甜點500個必學訣竅》書內水羊羹配方和做法，過去的週末EC都是少量製作水羊羹調配合自己口味的份量，有使用葛粉的，也有省去葛粉的，亦有增減水量測試水羊羹的軟硬度。EC發現沒有加入葛粉的水羊羹保存到第二天便開始出水了。含葛粉的則没此情況，而口感也十分順滑。初次製作時加入了熟栗子，但孩子們竟然說不喜歡栗子的味道統統給EC挑了出來，所以後來索性捨棄栗子了。不過EC在網誌末段也提供了栗子紅豆水羊羹的做法。
Mizu Yokan (Red Bean Jelly)
Makes 8 (85 ml each)
400 g red bean paste
400 g + 40 g water
30 g granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
4 g agar agar or kanten powder
5 g arrowroot or kuzu powder
A pinch of salt
In a small bowl mix together the agar agar powder and sugar (this will prevent the agar agar powder from clumping together). Place 400 g of water in a saucepan then add the agar-sugar mixture. Stir well and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until the agar agar is dissolved.
Over medium heat, add red bean paste and salt. Stir slowly with a spatula until smooth.
Dissolve kuzu powder in 40 g of water in a small bowl and set aside. While the red bean-agar mixture has come to a boil, reduce to low heat then drizzle in the kuzu mixture. Stir well with a spatula until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
Cool mixture by placing the pan in a bowl of cold water. Stir slowly to bring down the temperature until the mixture starts to thicken up.
Pour mixture into the mold. Let set at room temperature then transfer mold to the refrigerator to chill completely. Unmold and cut into pieces before serving.
Variation: Mizu yokan with chestnut
Fill mold to 1/4 full then refrigerate for 5 minutes until set. Add cooked chestnut and then fill mold with remaining mixture. Let set at room temperature then transfer to refrigerator to chill completely.
This batch contained more water so the texture resembled jello which is more wiggly.
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