Saturday, September 7, 2013

I Try to Make Wagashi

One super mega traditional Japanese food offering is wagashi (和菓子), and if you do a search, you'll find hordes of it's-too-pretty-to-eat mounds shaped into flowers and bird nests and artful masterpieces.
We found these at the Tsukiji Fish Market:
They range from wow to OMG, how many hours did they spend on that thing?

Traditionally, they are filled with red bean paste and eatted up with a traditional bamboo stab-it device that I don't know the name of. Actually, "wagashi" is a pretty broad term, and it comes in a fairly wide variety of forms, including those little red bean pancake things, I think. If you check out Cookpad, you'll see a lot of the home cook'n variety are basically plain old red bean wagashi or a sweet potato variety that look a little less impressive, but still have that old Japan taste.
I grabbed the first recipe I saw and went to work.
Okay! I need:
150 grams of dried beans
Buncha sugar, but not in an American way
little bit of salt
agar agar - 4 grams isn't much

And then, and then...okay let's try Google translate...
It doesn't say to soak, but I a bean soaker by nature, so I start there.
It seems like the red kinda bleeds off, doesn't it?
Whatever, I drain and start the cook'n.
Go beans, go! Trivia: "To boil" = 沸かす (wakasu) or maybe 沸騰する (futtou suru)

Okay, the beans seem fairly mushy after a while, probably 20 minutes or so. I let it sit, because it so frick'n hot. 15 minutes later, I guess it's time to "subject the beans and broth to the mixer" or whatever. Die, beans, die!
I guess it looks okay...
Now it looks like we have to return it to the pot to boil up with the sugar and agar for a couple minutes. Okay. Oh, and, not that you care, but I actually got an excuse to open up that sugar I bought from Mitsuwa last Fall.
Some people say it tastes different. The reality is, it's castor sugar instead of granulated sugar, and maybe it's more like the texture is different? Whatever, it's special and I don't care. And then we add the tiny bit of agar agar, the stuff that is (correct me if I'm wrong) made from seaweed of some sort? Slightly more vegan. Not that I'm vegan, but I kind of appreciate the more edible nature of plants.
It kept flipping between 3 and 4, so good enough.
Add in the pot, and boom!
I prepped a container...
It doesn't say anything about plastic wrap, but I think it makes it easier (if slightly more wrinkly in texture...).
And I was so glad to be done...
...that I forgot the "poured in type from the strainer 3" part. In other words, if I wanted silky smooth wagashi, I needed to strain it. Crap. Well, that TOO BAD! *sulk*
It was still good. I brought it to a party, describing it as red bean jello, but I think next time I'll call it a vegan red bean brownie. Maybe that will spiff it up for them. And next time I WILL STRAIN IT!

No comments:

Post a Comment