Nov 10, 2015

Wagashi #8 Senju Senbei

Senju Senbei - Waffle-Style Cookie with Cream Filling
by Mika Nishioka

I’d like to introduce “Senju Senbei” which I bought in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto.

This is the first time for me to introduce a Japanese confectionery on this blog.  I bought sweets in Kyoto since it was often to go to Kyoto in job hunting. Then, I interested in lovely shape, I choose this Japanese sweets because it was surprised to understand that it is Japanese sweets. 

It is said that this was the first Japanese confectionery made with a waffle shape in Japan.

The deep waves make the cookie look unique and gives it an extra crunchy texture.

It is delicious to eat as it is or you can enjoy splitting the cookie to eat the top and bottom separately.
Further, it is also possible to enjoy the difference between the cookie and cream because the cream is very smooth and thick.

This time, sugar cream was used for the filling but new flavors appear during the main yearly festivals.  For example, there have been organic hoji tea cream and strawberry black tea cream used in the cookies.

I think that this is one kind of Japanese sweet everyone can enjoy.  Even people who don't like wagashi are sure to like this.

So, if you go to Kyoto, please stop at Kogetsu store in Arashiyama to get this delicious cookie.

May 19, 2015

Wagashi # 7 Izumo Zanmai 出雲三昧

“Izumo Zanmai” 

by Moeka Matsumoto

This time I'll introduce a sweet called "Izumo Zanmai".
Izumo Zanmai are sold at "Keigetsu-do", a famous wagashi sweets shop in Matsue.
Because it was delicious when we tasted it, we recommend you to try it too.
Appearance is a little unusual.  It has 3 layers. Therefore, is also has three colors. The top layer is a cream color, the middle is dark brown, and the bottom rice cake layer is light gray.

The first layer is made from “Kanbaiko” a sweet flour made from powdered rice cakes.
Next layer is “Tsubuan”-a chunky sweet red bean paste.

Last layer is “Mochi”-a sweet rice cake.

It has a sweet fragrance like a rice cake.  It tasted sweeter than other wagashi we've tried.

It's texture is different and interesting. You can taste a lot of texture in one of the sweets. The reason is because of the big difference is the texture of the rice cake and the Kanbaiko”. 
The glutinous rice cake has the chewy texture of Mochi and Kanbaiko” has a slightly gritty texture.  The smooth sweetness of Tsubuan helps the textures and flavors combine.
 The combination is very tastyThree unique tastes combine in your mouth! What great teamwork!
Please try "Izumo Zanmai" by all means when visit Matsue.

Feb 5, 2015

Tukimi Dango 月見団子

 Tsukimi Dango” 

This Wagashi  has two kinds of dumplings.

The yellow dumpling seems to express the moon.

The image of the Susuki grasses (pampas grass) on the yellow dumpling are made with a fire iron. This decoration is simple and it gives us a lovely impression of autumn.
These rice cake dumplings are covered all over with a thick outer layer of sweet bean paste.

The texture is moist and smooth.

Because the peel of the adzuki bean is mixed into the bean paste, the flavor of the adzuki bean is quite strong.
The texture of the rice cake inside is chewy.

These are made of paste and bean jam both, but we can enjoy a different texture because the outside is reversed to the inside.

So Tsukimi Dango give us a sweet image of autumn. Wagashi pleases us in every season.

Everybody, please enjoy the seasons with Wagashi!!!

Umi no Kumo

Umi no Kumo

I will introduce "Umi no Kumo".

This name means "Cloud of the Lake".

We can buy it in Saiundo.

Matsue has Lake Shinji and it is very beautiful with the evening sun.

Umi no Kumo represents this sight.  The red lines are the colors of the evening sun as it sinks down in Lake Shinji.  The white lines represent the clouds around the sun.

This Japanese cake has characteristics of Japanese and western style confections.

The red line is made of Saiundo's original bean paste.

The white line is made of sponge cake with butter flavor.

We can enjoy eating it with the bean paste's smooth taste and the sponge cake's moist taste. This is refreshing and not as sweet as I thought.  It is a delicious combination!!

Umi no Kumo is such a nice Japanese cake that is good-looking and good-tasting.

I recommend it as my favorite sweet which is an expression of Matsue my hometown. 



Shunju is a wagashi that is an agar block covered with crystallized sugar. It has adzuki beans (sweet red beans) or yuzu (a type of citrus fruit) inside.

It looks hard and it is a little translucent.

Both flavors are quite sweet, and the yuzu one doesn’t taste sour, but it has a slightly sour yuzu fragrance.

The adzuki one is odorless.

The outside is crunchy and the inside is soft. This combination of contrasting textures makes it so enjoyable.  I hope you try it!

Wagashi Yamakatsura やまかつら


I’d like to introduce a sweet I bought at a Japanese sweets shop in Matsue, Saiundo.

I bought the Japanese sweets, Yamakatsura, there. 

The green side was soft. It was like a sponge cake made with powdered green tea (this tea is called matcha in Japanese ) and it was a little sweet. The purple side was made of sweet red bean paste (in Japanese, azuki). It was a little bit hard like gelatin had been added, and it was very sweet. It was sweeter than the green side.

The food texture and taste of both sides were different but when I ate both sides together, it tasted terrific!

If you have a chance, you should try it!

tsuki no usagi

Let me introduce "Tsuki no usagi". 
The night with a full moon this month is on September 19th.
This sweet makes me feel the Autumn season.

Tukinnousagi is a steamed bun (manju) with a white and smooth outer layer.
The picture of a rabbit is drawn on the surface. It is said that we can see rabbits making rice cakes on the moon when it is full.

The contents of it is smooth sweet bean paste.
It is moist and fine.  It has smooth red bean paste inside.

This sweet has a spongy and slightly chewy texture when you're eating it.