Wagashi is a traditional Japanese confectionery often served with tea. The types more commonly served this way are the ones made of mochi, anko, and fruits. Wagashi is typically made from plant ingredients.
In Japan the word for sweets, okashi, originally referred to fruits and nuts. China learned from India how to produce sugar and began trading it to Japan. The trade increased and sugar became a common seasoning by the end of the Muromachi period. Influenced by the introduction of tea and China’s confectionery and dim sum, the creation of wagashi took off during the Edo period in Japan.
Below are several types of Wagashi:
- Anmitsu: chilled gelatinous cubes (kanten) with fruit
- Botamochi: a sweet rice ball wrapped with anko (or an, thick azuki bean paste)
- Dango: a small, sticky, sweet mochi, commonly skewered on a stick
- Dorayaki: a round, flat sweet consisting of castella wrapped around anko
- Kuri kinton: a sweetened mixture of boiled and mashed chestnuts
- Manjū: steamed cakes of an surrounded by a flour mixture, available in many shapes such as peaches, rabbits, and matsutake mushrooms
- Mochi: a rice cake made of glutinous rice
- Monaka: a center of anko sandwiched between two delicate and crispy sweet rice crackers
- Rakugan: a small, very solid and sweet cake which is made of rice flour and mizuame
- Sakuramochi: a rice cake filled with anko and wrapped in a pickled cherry leaf
- Taiyaki: like a kaitenyaki, a core of anko surrounded by a fried dough covering, but shaped like a fish
- Uirō: a steamed cake made of rice flour and sugar, similar to mochi
- Yatsuhashi: thin sheets of gyūhi (sweetened mochi), available in different flavors, like cinnamon, and occasionally folded in a triangle around a ball of red anko
- Yōkan: one of the oldest wagashi, a solid block of anko, hardened with agar and additional sugar
Here’s a special Autumn recipe for the season! Japanese Style Chestnut Truffles! Easy, quick, and delicious!
- 100g koshi-an(smooth read bean paste)
- 20g dark chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
- Filling: Kuri-Kinton or whole nuts
- Heat the bean paste, add chocolate chips and stir untill the chocolate melts, then add the cocoa powder.
- Mix well, and let it cool.
- Knead the mixture and shape it into small balls, flatten, and wrap around the filling of your choice (nuts/kuri-kinton).
- Other filling alternatives: Kuri Kanroni, fresh steamed chestnuts or even whole nuts(like walnuts).
- Best served with black tea or coffee!
(Source for recipe and picture: http://blog.wagashi-net.de/2012/10/autumn-wagashi/)