Will you be giving a valentine treat to someone today ? In Japan it’s just the men that get the gifts off the women and it’s not just loved ones that are given gifts it’s co workers, school and college friends teachers you name it ! It can be quite a big task giving gifts to all your male friends.
Todays Valentine chocolate was inspired by a cafe in Yanaka Ginza called Kenshindo.
It’s the cutest little place to enjoy a tea and seasonal dessert even with a loved one, friend or simply watch the old town ambience go by on your own as you look out on to this rustic unspoilt area of Tokyo. I love visiting Yanaka when I’m in Tokyo it has such a nostalgic slower paced atmosphere, something for everyone with temples, local grocery shops, street food, crafts and cafes. Amidst the skyscrapers and lively metropolis of Tokyo you will find many locals shops and Yanaka has a unique shitamachi character. Shitamachi refers to an age where Tokyo was still called Edo and now means a downtown neighbourhood that still has that slower pace atmosphere and warmth, of a bygone era. It’s also near Ueno and Nezu shrine, so a great day out.
Yanaka also has a reputation for cats, no one really knows why the cats where attracted to here, some think it was because of the large amount of trees and temples in the area. The locals love the cats and they are even included in the local district flag.
Here is how I made them.
I decided to make tofu dango so you will need roughly about 1/2 bag of dango flour and 1/2 a block of silken tofu.
Blend together to form a dough
Then roll into a log shape and pull pieces off and roll into balls.
Then drop them into boiling water
When they float to the surface they are done ( I always leave them a little longer to cook through )
Remove them and drop into cold water. Then remove them to dry out a little.
Melt about one and a half bars of vegan chocolate of choice in a Bain-Marie. Basically a bowl over hot water.
When your chocolate is melted drop a few dango at a time into your melted chocolate to cover and then thread onto a skewer.
Place onto some parchment paper and sprinkle with some candy sprinkles.
Put them in the freezer for ten minutes to harden the chocolate and they are ready.
These are a lovely combination of the crack of chocolate and squishy Mochi as you bite. I’m going to enjoy a little bit of Yanaka tea time at home.
Happy Valentine’s Day.