Tag

Anko

Blog, Spring Food

Tsubaki-mochi (椿餅) camellia leaf mochi

 


Risshun is the first micro season in the cycle of 24 sekki, this season translates to “Spring Rises”. This is the coldest season, but emotionally we are gradually beginning to feel the end of winter and the arrival of Spring. The first blooms of camellias and ume blossom bring positive energies, the days start to get slightly longer and life is starting to emerge from the earth.
Tsubaki-mochi is an oval shaped domyoji mochi, a freshly made rice cake with azuki bean paste wrapped in tsubaki (camellia leaves). This confectionery has been eaten in Japan since the Heian period and is now often served at tea ceremonies as a Kyoto confectionery during the month of February in Japan.

The leaves are not edible but are the same family as tea and traditionally used as a non-stick wrapper for some sticky sweets.

This confectionery has been eaten in Japan for about 1100 years and is believed to be the oldest mochi sweet, often being referred to as the origin of wagashi. This Japanese confectionery was written about in The Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari) 源氏物語 in the 11th century. Genji tale is the oldest long novel in the world written by a woman writer, Murasaki Shikibu about 1008 in Japan. You can see her statue placed at one end of the Uji Bridge in Uji Kyoto where the tale of Genji was a prime setting.


In Genji tale, young men were eating tsubaki rice cake, citrus fruits and pears in the lids of bamboo baskets after playing kemari; the ancient football game of the imperial court.

When I read that mochi powder (present-day Domyoji powder) was made by drying glutinous rice and grinding it in a mortar and was used to make tsubaki-mochi I decided to try making my own as I have never been able to obtain domyoji powder.

Recipe for x5 tsubaki-mochi:

First grind 1 rice cooker cup of glutinous mochi (you can use a suribachi Japanese mortar & pestle grinding bowl). However this can take a while to grind so I used an electric blender, you could also use a clean coffee grinder. This is going to be your Domyoji substitute. You do not want a powder you just need to break up the rice grains so giving it a few blitz in your blender will be enough.

Note: The plastic rice cooker cup that comes with the rice cooker is 3/4 cup (180ml). In Japan, this amount is called ichi go (一合).

You will also need 25grams of granulated sugar.

Add the ground rice to a bowl with the sugar and add one rice cooker cup of hot water stir and leave over night to soak.

After your rice has been soaking over night.

You will need 100grams of red sweet bean paste smooth koshian or chunky tsubuan and x10 camellia leaves wiped clean.

You will also need to make a sugar syrup 25ml of hot water and 25grams of granulated sugar. (or you can use the syrup that comes with the kuri kanroni candied chestnuts from making Osechi for new year.

I have read that tsubaki-mochi can also sometimes be flavoured with a hint of cinnamon or clove. If you would like to do this that is your own preference.

First make a syrup by adding the 25 grams of sugar to 25ml of hot water and stir to combine heat in a pan or in a microwave until boiling and then cool to room temperature if not using kanroni syrup.

Then make your mochi:

Take the rice that has been soaking in sugar over night and add this to your rice cooker and add one rice cooker cup of water. Set your timer to cook short grain rice.

Roll your sweet bean paste into 20 gram balls makes x5 balls and put to one side and wipe clean your camellia leaves.

When the rice is cooked let it steam for a further fifteen minutes. Take your mochi and mash it to a sticky consistency, I usually use the end of a rolling pin, you could use the pestle from the suribachi known as a Surikogi. Turn the mochi out onto a surface and cut into five equal pieces.

Wet your hands with the syrup and roll each piece into a ball. Place each ball into the palm of your hand and flatten adding one ball of bean paste in the middle, work the mochi over the bean paste making an oval shaped ball.

Keep wetting your hands with sugar syrup or kanroni syrup as you go. Sandwich each mochi ball in between two camellia leaves (not edible) use the leaves to hold the mochi when eating.

These delicious sweets are perfect with a sencha green tea or hojicha please enjoy and savour the coming of Spring.

Autumn Food, Blog

Autumn Equinox Taro Mochi Ohagi

The Autumn Equinox 秋分 is the 16th micro season in the 24 micro seasonal calendar marking the first day of Autumn and is known as Shūbun. Buddhists call the Autumn Equinox O-Higan or Aki no Higan. Higan translates to “other shore” meaning land of the dead. Higan is a special time for Buddhists in Japan as they believe that this is when the worlds between the living and dead are at their thinnest, thus at this time people pay respects to the deceased. In Japan people are very much in touch with the changing of the seasons. Aki is the word for autumn/fall in Japan and after the hot humid heat of the Japanese summer, people look forward to the cooling breezes and clear blue skies that the new season brings.

During the heat of the summer people loose their appetites so when autumn comes people refer to it as  Shokuyoku no Aki (Autumn the season of Appetites).

There is a word in Japanese “Fuubutsushi” this refers to the little things that signal a change in the seasons, the feelings, scents, images and sounds that might evoke memories or anticipation of the coming season. I think when we become more aware of this it helps us to centre ourselves and celebrate the passing of time.

Every year I always like to make Ohagi a traditional type of Japanese wagashi (sweet) made from half pounded ( hangoroshi ) mochi rice with an anko filling and rolled in various toppings like kinako and ground sesame. You can also do a reverse one where the rice is the filling and the anko is on the outside. Ohagi おはぎ is named after the Japanese clover bush in the autumn, in the spring the same sweets are called Botamochi named after the tree peony botan.

In Japan  it is traditional to take Ohagi along with flowers and incense to the graves of ancestors at this time as offerings. It is also said that Botamochi in the spring were made as a prayer for fertility and a successful growing season and Ohagi in the autumn was to give thanks to the harvest .
This year I decided to make my Ohagi with something a little different. Ohagi actually started as a sweet called “Kaimochi” which was first mentioned in the 13th century. This sweet is made by pounding both glutinous rice and satoimo “taro root” and covering with a layer of tsubuan bean paste. Satoimo are a starchy crop with a slightly nutty flavour and a creamy white sticky flesh. They look a bit like a cross between a kiwi and a coconut and are harvested in the autumn time around the same time as newly harvested rice. So I thought it would be perfect to make kaimochi for the autumn equinox.


To make x6 large or x12 smaller Kaimochi Ohagi you will need:

75g of glutinous mochi rice and 75g of Japanese rice (this equates to about half and half of a sushi rice cup used in your rice cooker).

You will also need x1 medium peeled taro root chopped into chunks, half a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. Along with your tsubuan sweet bean paste. Ohagi in the autumn normally has tsubuan a chunky bean paste and the Botamochi in the spring uses the smoother koshian.

Method:
1: Wash and rinse your rice together until the water runs clear then tip this into a sieve and leave to air for ten minutes.

3: Put your rice in your rice cooker with 1 1/2 rice cooker cups of water ( this is about 200ml).  Add the sugar and leave for at least two hours to soak.

4: Peel one medium taro potato and chop into small chunks, wash the starch off the taro in water.

5: Add the taro to the top of the rice and cook on a white short  grain rice setting until it’s done if you have a rice cooker.

5. When the rice is cooked add a pinch of salt and while hot mash the rice and taro potato together I like to use a surikogi to do this that comes with a suribachi grinding bowl. Make sure to leave a little grain in the rice, the taro will make the mochi rice even more sticky.


6. Have a bowl of water to hand and divide the rice into six equal pieces. When the rice is easy to hold dampen your hands and roll each section into a ball then flatten in to an oval shape. Do this with all the rice. Alternatively divide the balls again to make twelve if you want smaller Ohagi .


7. Then cover each rice ball in your bean paste. I do this by rolling the bean paste into a ball then flattening it out and places the rice ball on the top then moulding the bean paste all the way around the rice ball.

If you wanted to make smaller Ohagi and divided each rice ball further into another six to make 12 rice balls, you can also make Ohagi with bean paste in the middle and rice on the outside. Then you can roll it in ground black sesame seeds or kinako (soy bean flour). You can view this further on previous posts just search Ohagi.


Red azuki beans are often used as an auspicious colour. The deep red was believed to console ancestral spirits and offer protection. The use of red and white in Japanese cuisine is also used for times of celebration like Sekihan glutinous rice cooked with azuki beans eaten for birthdays, graduations, weddings, and new year.

As the leaves change colours and the air turns crisp, the comforting palette of Japanese tableware becomes the perfect backdrop for the hearty and flavoursome dishes of the season. This is why I chose to serve my wagashi on this Hozan Kiln Botamochi Bizen Ware Half-Round Plate. Especially as the name of the plate is Botamochi .

Bizen ware is a traditional stoneware produced in the Ibe area of Okayama Prefecture. It is one of the oldest ceramics in Japan, and is made using the “Yakishime” technique, in which pieces are fired at high temperatures without glaze to make them durable and water-resistant.

Bizen ware is called “the art of clay and fire” for the exquisite colors and patterns produced by the kiln’s flames, and is characterized by its minimalist, “Wabi-sabi” design. You can read more about how this earthy rustic stoneware is made on the Musubi kiln website where this plate is from www.musubikiln.com

Why not try making Ohagi to welcome in the autumn season and give thanks to the harvest. I have never tried using taro root in Ohagi before and I found it made the rice so creamy and delicious I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.

You can normally find taro root in Asian grocery stores. Ohagi is best eaten on the day of making and leaving no longer than two days in an airtight container.

Blog, Spring Food

Yatsuhashi for Midori no Hi みどりの日


Greenery Day (midori no hi) みどりの日 also known as Arbor Day on the 4th of May is part of a string of holidays and celebrations over a week long period in Japan called Golden Week.
On Greenery Day, it is customary to visit a garden or a tea room for a tea ceremony . It’s a great opportunity to try the best green tea and celebrate nature.
Around the time of Golden Week is Hachijuu Hachiya (八十八夜) and is one of the most important dates for Japanese farmers. It means eighty eight days (it depends where we look at it as it is also translated into eighty eight nights) after the start of the spring (risshun 立春). This is typically when the first crop of green tea is harvested, known as first flush (Ichibancha, 一番茶), the green tea harvested during this time is widely regarded as the tastiest of the year many claim that even a single cup of fresh Hachiju-Hachiya Shincha can promote health and longevity.
(the other two, nibancha and sanbancha occur in July and September).

If you have ever visited Kyoto you maybe familiar with a Japanese wagashi ( confection) mainly sold as an omiyage (souvenir) known as Yatsuhashi 八ツ橋 (八橋). It can come in two types baked hard like a senbei or soft known as Nama Yatsuhashi which is a soft mochi made from Joshinko (non-glutinous rice flour). The unbaked yatsuhashi is cut into a square shape after being rolled very thin, and folded in half diagonally to make a triangle shape, and filled with red bean paste inside. Unbaked yatsuhashi may also come in a variety of different flavours from cinnamon, matcha and Yuzu to even chocolate. It is pretty difficult to find this wagashi outside of Kyoto and I often buy it to bring home.


I have recently started selling a range of organic tea in my shop by a Japanese company called “Nodoka”. It is something pretty special a luxurious genmaicha tea powder. Where as before you may have tried genmaicha which is green tea with roasted rice in its tea leaf form, you can now get the nutritional benefits of 100% tea leaf by using the whole ground tea. As you can use it pretty much like matcha for not only making delicious lattes but also in baking, I decided to use it to celebrate greenery day and try making some yatsuhashi with it. They turned out so delicious.
Want to enjoy the taste of Kyoto in your home why not give them a try. You can purchase the Genmaicha from my shop or just substitute it for regular matcha. Obviously the taste will be different.
Gather your ingredients (you should be able to get these from an Asian grocery store or on line)

You will need:

30g Shiratamako (glutinous rice flour)

50g Joshinko (non glutinous rice flour)

60g of unrefined caster sugar

150g of tsubuan (chunky bean paste)

1 tablespoon of kinako (roasted soybean flour)

2 1/2 teaspoons of sifted genmaicha or matcha powder

65-70ml of water

You will also need : a microwaveable bowl, muslin cloth, steamer a piece of card cut into a 3×3 inch (8x8cm) square and a knife.

Method:

Add your Shiratamako to a microwaveable bowl and add 65ml of  water, whisk well until it’s nice and smooth with no lumps. Then add your sugar and Joshinko, mix until you get a thick smooth batter consistency adding more water if necessary.


Place some plastic wrap over the bowl and microwave for 3 minutes with a 600w microwave. Take out of the microwave and spoon out onto a muslin cloth.

Place this inside a steamer basket loosely covering over the top of the mochi. Heat up some water in a pan and place the steamer on top. Steam for 15 minutes.

Tip out the mochi into a bowl and let it cool slightly so you can handle it. Add your tea powder and start to knead the mochi until all the tea powder is incorporated.


Scatter some kinako onto a cutting board and roll out your dough with a rolling pin thinly. Start to cut out your square shapes using your stencil.

When you have finished cutting out, add a teaspoon of anko to the middle of each mochi square.

Fold the mochi over corner to corner and gently seal the edges together by pressing slightly. Do this with all the remaining squares and you’re done.



Yatsuhashi often has a slight cinnamon flavour if you would like this I recommend either adding a little cinnamon to your tea powder or sprinkling some cinnamon mixed with kinako on your cutting board. I like to serve with either a sprinkle of kinako or sieved matcha over the yatsuhashi on top.
Best eaten on the day of making but can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days. Do not put in the fridge. They can also be frozen, defrosted and eaten straight away. Enjoy with your favourite tea while enjoying nature. Happy Greenery Day.

If you would like to make Yuzu yatsuhashi use 1/2 Yuzu juice and 1/2 water and omit the tea powder. Just use kinako again to dust your surface to stop it from sticking.


Blog, Spring Food

Sakura no Hi & Chomeiji Sakura Mochi 

Day of Cherry Blossom 

March 27 is sakura no hi (さくらの日), Day of Cherry Blossom. This was decided by the Nihon Sakura no kai (日本さくらの会), Japan Cherry Blossom Association in 1992. They made it that date  because the pun of sakura 3 (sa) x 9 (ku) = 27. Saku (咲く) in Japanese means “to bloom”.
The name “Sakura” comes from Japan’s most famous flower the cherry blossoms. Some say that cherry blossom is the national flower of the country although some dispute this and say the chrysanthemum is the correct national flower of Japan.

Nevertheless there is  something to be said about the beauty and wonder the cherry blossom season brings.

The general flower language of cherry blossoms is “spiritual beauty” and seeing the cherry blossom definitely gives you a feeling like no other, touching the soul in an almost spiritual way.

There are 9 original species of cherry blossoms in Japan, and there are about 100 varieties, each coming into flower at different times depending on where in japan they are. The earlier blooms tend to appear in tropical Okinawa in January, with the last on the northernmost island of Hokkaido in early May.

The arrival of the cherry blossoms in Japan is a big deal, people eagerly wait for the forecasts of when the blossoms will bloom making the national news when the first blossom opens.

Cherry blossom viewing or “hanami” 花見 as  it’s known started in the Edo period. Throughout Japan many people will be celebrating the cherry blossoms with viewing parties and picnics, taking place in gardens and parks.

Often you will see blue sheeting laying on the ground for people to sit on while they have special food and drink sake under the blossom while generally enjoying the arrival of spring.

This can go on well into the evening when viewing the blossom under lanterns that light up the branches is known as yozakura.

Many sakura themed and flavoured foods are eaten at this time, one of which is a popular confectionery called sakura mochi 桜餅 a traditional Japanese wagashi confection with over 300 years of history when Tokyo was still called Edo. This wagashi heralds the arrival of spring.

It is a soft, chewy, sticky rice cake filled with sweet azuki red bean paste. Did you know there are two types ? You may be familiar with the sakura mochi with roots in the Kansai region around Osaka called Domyoji made from domyojiko (道明寺粉), which is glutinous rice steamed, dried, and coarsely groundThe main characteristic of Domyoji Sakura Mochi is the distinctive  stickiness of rice grain. As domyojiko is difficult to find outside of japan I always use mochigome a Japanese short-grain glutinous rice. The recipe for this is basically the same as my Ohagi recipe but you just colour the rice pink with a natural dye like a few drops of beetroot juice and wrap the mochi in a salted preserved sakura leaf. Cherry leaves are what gives the mochi that distinctive flavour.

The salted preserved sakura leaves are also hard to find but you can buy them from Nihon Ichiban on line from Japan.

They are often also decorated with preserved sakura flowers again you can buy these on line or why not use my recipe to make your own. This year I also intend to try preserving my own leaves.

The next sakura mochi is called Chomeiji Mochi which originated in the Kanto region, and was created around 1717 in an old Buddhist temple in Mukojima, Tokyo, named Chomeiji 長命寺. Unlike Domyoji mochi, the Kanto version has an outer pink thin crepe made by baking a mixture of wheat flour, glutinous rice flour, sugar, and water. The pale pink crepe is rolled and wrapped in mashed red bean paste and are then neatly wrapped inside salted cherry leaves.

People in the Kanto region (greater Tokyo areas) use shiratamako (白玉粉) a type of glutinous rice flour as the main ingredient for the mochi. They are super easy to make if you manage to gather all the ingredients it just takes a bit of planning a head if you want to make your own Sakura flowers and leaves but you can buy them if you wish.

This is how I made Chomeiji mochi 長命寺餅

Makes around x5

Ingredients & method sakura flowers and leaves rinsed in water and dried between kitchen towel. One of each for each mochi

Anko Tsubuan (粒あん) The paste has a chunky texture or Koshian (こしあん) The paste has a fine, smooth texture. Rolled into log shapes.

20 grams of Shiratama flour

Mixed with 40ml of water (mix and wait ten mins)

Then add 5 grams of sugar, 40 grams of plain flour and another 60ml of water.

Mix well until smooth and strain through a sieve.

Add a few drops of pink food colouring I like to use a natural dye so I use beetroot juice.

Heat up a non stick frying pan til hot then wipe neutral oil without flavour I use Tiana coconut butter over the pan with kitchen towel and then wipe it off (you do not want an oily pan)

Take a tablespoon of your mixture an add it to the pan add another and spread the batter out thinly into an oval shape.

This takes only second to cook once it’s solid flip it over for a few seconds to solidify on the other side. Remove and add to a plate and repeat the process until all your batter is used.

Lay a sakura leaf with the veins visible then place on top one of the crepes then add one of the anko logs and roll the leaf from the base and you are done. Continue with the rest and finish with a salted sakura flower. You can store these in an airtight container for a few days in the fridge.

Why not make yourself a bento this spring. One of my favourite places to buy bento boxes is Bento & Co in Kyoto. They have a wonderful on line store and ship really quickly from japan.
One memorable day last year I sat under a cherry blossom in my local park with my bento box and sake on a warm day.

The cherry blossom petals were falling like snow around me. Did you know there is a word for this ? 桜吹雪 Sakura-fubuki. It’s the little memories like this that stay with you. Another memory of Sakura-fubuki is when I visited Japan over cherry blossom season, I was walking in the Yasukuni Shrine and all the blossoms were falling.
The Japan Meteorological Agency determines the state of Tokyo’s sakura season by the flowers on a particular tree in the Yasukuni Shrine called the Index Tree. When only five or six blossoms have opened, Tokyo’s cherry blossoms are considered “in bloom.” When 80 percent of the buds on the tree have opened, Tokyo is considered to be in “full bloom.”  Forty seven other prefectures have their own index tree.

I hope you are able to enjoy hanami even if you are not in Japan just by doing those little things that make you feel closer.

Happy Hanami

 

Autumn Food, Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food, Winter Food

Vegan Dorayaki

Vegan Dorayaki

ビーガンどら焼き

JAPANESE RED BEAN PANCAKE 

Before I became vegan I did try a dorayaki in Kyoto but after becoming vegan over 12 years ago now I’ve been trying to replicate it. I’ve been trying for many years but getting the pancake to have that golden honey flavour and castella cake consistency was pretty tricky to make vegan using no eggs.

So what is a dorayaki and what’s the origin behind this iconic treat loved by children and adults alike ? Dora (どら) means “gong” and yaki (焼き) means fry.

Dorayaki is a Japanese cake usually made with two slightly raised round pancake like castella patties with azuki bean paste filling in the middle. Other fillings such as fresh cream, custard cream or chocolate cream can be used as an alternative.

The original dorayaki consisted of only one layer with the edges folded over so they were square and the bean paste could be seen on one side.

Legend has it that the first dorayaki were made when Mushashibo Benkei (a Japanese warrior monk) became injured, and received treatment at a farmers house. Benkei forgot his gong (dora) upon leaving the farmer’s home where he was hiding, and the farmer subsequently used the gong to fry pancakes. Others stories say that Benkei after receiving treatment by the farmer showed his gratitude by making dorayaki on his gong.

It is said that the current method of using two pieces of castella to sandwich the bean paste was the idea of the Japanese cake shop in Ueno  Tokyo called ‘Usagi-ya’ which was founded in 1914, and this method became popular around Japan.

Like I mentioned I have not before managed to recreate the likeness of a dorayaki because of the use of eggs and honey.

However when I saw a vegan scrambled egg alternative and a liquid egg alternative new on the market I set about experimenting.

You may not have where you are what I finally used but maybe you could find something similar.

I settled for using the vegan egg alternative by OGGS. Even though it says for scrambled eggs it makes the pancake nice and fluffy and more like a cake.

You can also use the other vegan liquid egg on the market called Crackd, I found both worked but the OGGS made fluffier pancakes.

I also used vegan honea by plant based artisan.

If you use the vegan egg alternative you will have enough left to make my pan pudding recipe inspired by “The Makanai”.

For the sweet red bean paste known as anko there are two types. Tsubuan (chunky paste) and Koshian (fine paste). You can use which ever you like.

Recipe for Vegan Dorayaki

All you need to make x4 dorayaki is:

150ml of OGGS scrambled egg alternative

100ml of water

2 tablespoons of vegan honey (or alternative like maple syrup or agave)

Add the above ingredients to a bowl and give it all a good whisk.

Add to a separate bowl:

160gm of sifted plain flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Give it a mix.

You will also need some neutral oil (I like to use Tiana coconut butter), kitchen towel, a nonstick frying pan and something to pour your batter into the pan with (I used a 1/3 measuring cup). You will also need some anko for your filling.

Method:

Add the vegan egg mixture to the flour and give it all a good mix. Your batter should be thick but runny enough to fall off a spoon with ease for a nice batter consistency.

Heat up your frying pan and add a little oil then wipe it off with kitchen towel ( you do not want an oily pan)

Then give your mixture another whisk then scoop up your batter with the measuring cup and pour the batter a few inches up from the pan. I found each time I used just under 1/3 of a cup of batter for each dorayaki. Pour until you get a nice round shape with the batter. Leave a few minutes until little bubbles start to appear then flip over the pancake and cook for a further  minute. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Repeat the process again adding a little oil and wiping it off before you pour each batter.

Continue until all your batter has been used.

Then add bean paste to one pancake adding more filling to the middle so you get the domed shape. Then place another on top.

Press round the edges to seal. I find they taste better left until they are completely cold. You can wrap them when they are cool in clingfilm and eat them the next day or they are good to freeze and then defrost.

Hope you can try making them and enjoy with a Japanese tea. Or why not take them for a treat during hanami season.

Do you know the Japanese anime and manga character Doraemon a character from the 1970s, created by Fujiko F. Fujio ? A robotic cat that travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid a preteen boy named Nobita.

Dorayaki are also known as the favourite food of the cat robot. Doraemon is addicted to dorayaki and falls for any trap involving them. You may of even grown up watching it on tv and dorayaki may give you a feeling of nostalgia eating them.

I also recommend a 2015 film “Sweet Bean” by director Naomi Kawase’s. This exquisite film is based on a novel by Durian Sukegawa.

The film is about Sentari who runs a shop where he makes and sells dorayaki pancakes filled with sweet bean paste. He advertises for an assistant, Tokue, a 76-year-old woman responds. After tasting the sweet bean paste that Tokue makes, Sentari is astonished. A lovely heartwarming film.

Autumn Food, Blog

Inoko Mochi 亥の子餅 (Baby Boar Cake A Seasonal Delight)


From late October to November you may see this confectionery in wagashi stores throughout Japan. It is custom to eat this Japanese sesame delight on “inoko no hi” 亥の子の日 Baby Boar Day . The wagashi is normally eaten on the day of the boar ( this year 2023 being Wednesday the 1st of November) for a prayer for good health. These wagashi are served at this time as part of a Japanese tea ceremony known as “Robiraki” 炉開き which is when the brazier set in the tatami mat is opened for the winter season. This is because the wild boar is believed to be a messenger of the Buddhist god of war and fire. It is also custom at this time to start using heating devices like the kotatsu 炬燵. The winter hearth is opened on the first wild boar day and tea is served with inoko mochi.

I decided to make inoko mochi wagashi 亥の子餅 baby boar cake. After the Halloween festivities it’s something that little bit different and still keeping in with the Japanese seasons. Black sesame is used to look like the spots on a wild boar piglet. The mochi is also seared with markings on the surface.

This is how I made Baby Boar Piglet Mochi ( Inoko Mochi )

Mix 30grm Shiratama flour with 4 and 1/2 tablespoons of water add 30grms of Joshinko flour and 50grms of sugar and mix again. Then mix in 30grms of mashed bean paste and 8grms of black sesame seeds.


Place a metal pancake ring inside a steamer and cover with a muslin cloth. Spoon the mixture inside the ring and steam for 15mins.

Meanwhile make x8 balls of bean paste ( 160grms = 20grms each ball)

Tip the steamed Mochi out into a bowl and mash, then tip out onto a surface with potato starch.  Divide the Mochi into 8 pieces. Flatten each piece and place a ball of bean paste inside and fold the mochi over. Roll and shape into a piglet.

Heat a metal rod and sear each Mochi with three stripes. Enjoy with matcha or your favourite Japanese tea to celebrate the changing seasons. The searing of the mochi gives it a lovely toasted sesame flavour.

I served mine with a hojicha latte and sprinkled  it with powdered ginger to make it extra warming.

 

Blog, Summer Food

Wagashi no hi

Wagashi no hi (the Day of Japanese Confectionery)

(和菓子の日)

Starting in the Heian period, the Emperor Ninmyo prayed to the gods with an offering of 16 wagashi on June 16th to pray for his people to live healthy and happy lives when a plague spread throughout Japan.

With the popularity of tea and sugar during the Edo period ( 1603-1867) due to sugar being more widely available the development of stores selling sweets to be eaten with tea flourished. Before this tea was introduced in the Kamakura period ( 1185-1333) and zen monks partook in drinking tea with a small snack.

With demand, different wagashi stores introduced their own styles of sweets. Kyoto style wagashi were beautiful edible pieces of art to be eaten with a tea ceremony where as Tokyo style wagashi were more simple in design.

Wagashi comes in so many shapes and is a wide term for many varieties of Japanese desserts and confectionery as well as sweets  eaten with green tea. Wagashi plays an important role in representing the seasons and you may find  motifs used in the confectionery each month  bringing a celebration of nature from the cherry blossoms of early spring with the wagashi known as Sakura Mochi to traditional sweets eaten at the equinoxes and offered to ancestors known an Ohagi .


In the autumn you may see wagashi shaped like maple leaves, chestnuts or persimmon. Summer wagashi maybe in the form of a cooling jelly or kuzu kiri, where as winter wagashi could be a zenzai

( warm red beans with Dango or Mochi )

Wagashi are normally consumed with green tea, the bitter taste of matcha is complimented by eating a sweet before hand never together.

The word wagashi is made up of two characters wa ( Japanese) and kashi/gashi (菓子 sweets). There are different forms of wagashi : Namagashi or fresh which are normally kept refrigerated and eaten on the same day, Mushi which  are steamed like manju or uirou ,  Mochi the ones we all know so well like Dango, Nagagashi which contain a coagulation ingredient like kanten or agar agar which we normally see in the form of summer jellies or yokan.

Yaki gashi are confections that are cooked think something like dorayaki or Taiyaki.

Nerikiri are the wagashi you normally find at Japanese tea ceremonies they consist of bean paste normally in a variety of colours that has been mixed with a binder like rice flour and come in a variety of shapes ( normally depicting a flower or something of the season). Higashi is a dry confection and can come in the form of a hard candy or wasanbon made from fine grained sugar. The most common being rakugan which come in a variety of shapes. Beika refer to snacks made from rice like senbei.

Agegashi refer to deep fried snacks like karinto.
Have you tried any of these types of wagashi yourself? You may have visited a Japanese tea shop or visited a family run wagashi store or maybe been bought them as a gift which is a very popular thing to do in Japan.

If you would like to purchase some beautiful wagashi yourself and your not in Japan the online store Minamoto Kichoan have a wonderful selection. They also have their own stores around the world and their flagship store in Ginza Tokyo selling their tradition confectionery made in Japan, many are seasonal with summer confections of jelly like this Kingyo jelly or ones containing fruits.

Autumn ones may contain things like nuts like their Gozenguri

or my favourite one the Suikanshuku which has a whole dried persimmon filled with white bean paste.


Just check the ingredients if you are wanting vegan ones as some contain egg.

I have some recipes for you to try making your own at home from Dango to yokan, Sakura Mochi and daifuku why not give it a try. You could make them for a special occasion or to honour an event. Why not try making Ohagi at the equinox or minazuki at the end of June.

A pyramid stack of Dango are offered to the moon for the moon viewing festival Tsukimi around September-October. 

or maybe you could make hanami Dango (three colour Dango balls for Hinamatsuri).

I hope you can try making some wagashi for yourself they also make nice gifts or enjoy them with friends for tea time.

In the summer when the weather heats up you could try making a refreshing jelly wagashi. I recently purchased some 100% Mikan juice made in Wakayama from the wasabi company.

Mikan is one of the most popular citrus fruits in Japan it’s sweet and refreshing and can be used to make salad dressings, or cocktails. It’s nice as a thirst quenching drink mixed with sparkling water or frozen for an ice lolly.

For wagashi day I decided to make a simple , very easy to make jelly.  To make it more appealing I served it as orange segments.

All you need is one orange cut in half and scoop out the fruit.
Add to a pan one cup of Mikan juice and sprinkle over one teaspoon of powdered agar agar. Gently heat up the Mikan juice and take off the heat before it boils. Allow to cool slightly and put it in the fridge for 5 mins to slightly thicken. Remove from the fridge and pour the Mikan juice into your orange halves. Allowing it to thicken will stop any leaks.

Place your orange halves in the fridge to set. When ready to serve slice a half into a further half to serve as an orange segment. Delicious on a hot day with an ice cold matcha.


Wagashi no hi’  was established by ‘Zenkoku Wagashi Kyokai’ (Japan Wagashi Association) in 1979. It is now observed every year on June 16. I’m not sure I want to eat 16 wagashi but it’s nice to have one with a green tea and wish for health and happiness.

Seasonal shop window  wagashi displays in Kyoto

Blog, Spring Food

Vegan Sakura Daifuku Butter Mochi


To celebrate the coming Sakura season and the launch of my spring recipe card. I have taken a wagashi which is a speciality of Akita prefecture called Butter Mochi and made it vegan.

The Mochi uses glutinous rice flour, vegan butter and soy milk to make a wagashi that it not only soft and chewy with a delicious creamy taste, but will last covered in the fridge for a few days.
I made these seasonal using Sakura flowers but you can just as easily omit them and add maybe matcha or Yomogi powder instead. They are perfect to make for hanami season. You could try making these and enjoy eating them under a cherry blossom tree for that Japanese feeling that we all are missing right now.
First you need (if using ) to prepare one tablespoon of Sakura flowers in advance around (five flowers). Wash off the salt and blot them between paper towel and dry them out. When they are dry grind them into a powder using a suribachi (pestle and mortar) or a coffee grinder if you have one. (Don’t worry you can omit this part if you wish and just use Sakura flowers for decoration for which you will need to wash and blot dry on kitchen towel nine Sakura flowers)

Line a small container around 4-5 inch square with parchment paper. I used a sandwich box.

You will then need :

100grms of glutinous rice flour ( the kind for making Dango like Shiratamako or Mochiko )

90grms of unrefined caster sugar

1 cup of soy milk

45grms of room temperature vegan butter cut into squares (I used Naturli Vegan Block)

1 teaspoon of natural pink food colouring . I used beetroot juice. Plus an optional dash of flavouring of umesu plum vinegar.

Red bean paste of choice tsubuan or koshian

Potato starch for dusting

Method:

Add your glutinous rice flour to a microwaveable bowl, add to this your sugar and mix, then add your soy milk mixing until smooth.  Add your colouring and Sakura powder if using and mix. Place in a microwave for 2 minutes. My microwave is 800watts so if yours is less add more time. Take the bowl out of the microwave and add your butter, stirring  until it has all melted. Place your bowl back in the microwave and cook again for 3 minutes. Remove and beat the Mochi with a wooden spoon or spatula until it becomes sticky and translucent. Wait for it to cool a little and tip it into your parchment prepared container. Add your Sakura flowers if using pressed into the mochi, then place in the fridge for an hour to firm up a little. Take the container out the fridge and lift the Mochi out of the container using the parchment paper.

Dust a knife with potato starch and cut into equal squares.

Roll nine small balls of bean paste then take each square with potato starch dusted hands and tip upside down placing a ball in the middle.

Fold the edges round over the bean paste and place on a plate.

Carry on doing this with the rest of the cut mochi.
If you want to make Matcha or Yomogi Daifuku instead add a tablespoon of this to your flour at the beginning.
Keep in the fridge in a container they will be good for a few days, if they last that long.
If you would like to purchase salted pickled Sakura flowers I have limited quantities with my Hanami recipe card this month.
Let’s enjoy the taste of Japanese spring time.

Happy Springtime Happy Hanami !

 

Blog

Tokyo Pony Recipe Card 3 Hinamatsuri 雛祭り

 


RECIPE CARD NUMBER
3️⃣

?????????

March “Hinamatsuri “

雛祭り桜餅

The third  in the series of Tokyo Pony monthly recipe cards following the seasons and traditions of Japanese vegan food.

My third recipe card marks the second in the five main seasonal festivals of japan “Hinamatsuri”. There are many traditional foods eaten on this day one of them being the spring seasonal wagashi ( Japanese sweet ) “Sakura Mochi “ 桜餅.

You can now experience the taste of cherry blossom season in Japan by making these sweet, chewy  Sakura Mochi at home with this months recipe card.

The sweets are made with an edible salted pickled Sakura leaf which are difficult to find outside of japan. Each recipe card comes with one pack of 10 salted pickled Sakura leaves to make the perfect combination of salty and sweet wagashi.

These sweets can be eaten for Hinamatsuri on March 3rd and also  enjoyed throughout the spring season.

Hurry there are limited quantity of these so get in quick !

Enjoy the recipe!

To purchase :

click the “SHOP” link in the menu

Thank you so much for your orders ??

And all your continued support . I hope you will enjoy making Japanese seasonal food along with me.

Blog, Winter Food

Shiroan 白あん Zenzai

Kagami Biraki  鏡開き

Breaking the new year mochi rice cake 鏡餅

Celebrated on January the 11th as odd numbers are considered auspicious in Japan. There maybe slight differences according to region’s in japan.

Kagami mochi is placed in the home as an offering to the deity of the New Year to bring good luck. It is said the mochi contains Toshigami 年神 (Great-Year God”) is a Kami of the Shinto religion in Japan, a spirit that visits during this time to bring good blessings. Eating the mochi signifies a prayer for health and good fortune for the year ahead. This is a store bought ornament that contains the Mochi inside.

Traditionally the Kirimochi  which is rectangular can be grilled and eaten with a red bean soup called zenzai ぜんざい 善哉 or Oshiruko お汁粉 which is more of a watery version.

Normally I make zenzai with sweet red beans however you can enjoy making zenzai with shiroan.
Shiroan is white bean paste, often used in Japanese wagashi. I made this white bean paste from  Lima ( butter beans ) and because I used non refined sugar which had more of a golden colour the bean paste is not as pale as the Japanese variety. There are two different types of red bean paste smooth koshian and chunky tsubuan but with white bean bean paste this is only made smooth.
This Shiroan is super simple to make and can be used for wagashi filling as well as a delicious zenzai with either Mochi or Shiratama Dango.

I used two cartons of organic already cooked  butter beans in water. Each carton was 380g  yielding 230g of beans when drained.
Tip your drained beans into a saucepan then add 250g of unrefined natural caster sugar and add enough water to cover the beans. Simmer with the lid on until the water has almost gone drain the rest of the water. Then transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Tip this out into a bowl and put in the fridge over night to set.
To make Shiroan zenzai add one heaped tablespoon of white bean paste to a pan with a cup of water and simmer until the bean paste has dissolved. If you like your soup a little thicker you can add some kuzu root powered. Just crush one teaspoon in a bowl with a little cold water and mix into your hot soup to thicken if you wish.
Serve piping hot with toasted Mochi .

Blog, Summer Food

Yama no Hi

Yama no Hi ( mountain day ) is japans newest public holiday, only starting in 2016. Much like marine day another public holiday is for taking the opportunity to appreciate the ocean this holiday is to honour the Japanese landscape with its many mountains and volcanoes. Mountain day normally falls on August 11th the reason this day was chosen is that the kanji for the eighth month looks like a mountain 八 and the number 11 signifies two trees. If this day falls on a Sunday the following Monday is observed. With over 73% of Japan being mountainous if you have ever been to Japan I’m sure you have either visited, hiked or at least seen one mountain when you have been there. Mt Takao is one of the easiest mountains to visit from Tokyo and is the most visited mountain in the world with around 2.6 million every year, Mt Fuji is the most climbed in the world with 300,000 people climbing the sacred mountain each year in the short period between July and August. I have visited Mt Fuji a few times on my trips to Japan and finally on my last trip back in December  2018 was actually able to see it with out clouds covering it.


I also went to Mt Kurama by taking the Eizan Kurama line from Denmachi-Yanagi station which takes around an hour to reach Kuruma a rural town in the northern mountains of Kyoto city. Kurama-dera temple is a Buddhist temple located on the steep wooded mountainside, it takes about 45 minutes to climb up the mountain to the temple, there is also a cable car going up ( one way ) to part of the way there if you wish to take it.


Known for its spirituality and breathtaking natural beauty, it is the birthplace of the holistic healing art of Reiki and is said to be the home of Sojobo king of tengu. Tengu are long nosed legendary creatures found in Japanese folk stories that represent the mysterious power of the mountains and are believed to be the mountains guardians. You will find a large Tengu statue at Kurama station.


The temple is also associated with the annual fire festival which takes place in October. As you climb up the mountain you will come across Yuki Shrine which has a 800 year old towering cedar tree, it is believed if you pray to this tree with all your heart your wish will come true.


I visited this temple on a very cold December day, as we climbed  flurries of snow started to fall and a temple gong could be heard. I can’t explain the feeling this temple gave me it was such a profound feeling of spirituality. I do not have any reiki training but if anyone is sick I often try to think of this temple and the healing energies I felt and try and send it to that person.


From Kurama-dera temple you can normally take a hiking trail which continues on through the forest for about one hour which leads to Kifune shrine. However there had been particularly bad typhoons and the path had been closed so I went back down the mountain and followed the river up passing places which are popular to stop at in the summer to enjoy the natural beauty and escape from the heat with a cold drink.


As it was winter all these places were closed and I carried on until I reached the well worn flight of stone steps lined with red wooden lanterns which lead up to Kifune-jinja (also known as Kibune). This shrine is dedicated to the god of water and rain the source of life energy.


Another mountain I have visited is Mt Rokko accessed by the Shin Kobe ropeway which offers panoramic views of the city as you climb up the mountain. When you reach the top there is japans largest herb garden with around 75,000 herbs and flowers plus spectacular views out to Kobe.



Did you know that the popular Japanese snack onigiri which can be round, barrel or triangle shaped, when shaped into a triangle represents a mountain ? It is said when you eat it you are taking on the power of the mountain?
I found this out watching the NHK anime series Kiyo in Kyoto about two friends in a maiko house and the food that is prepared.

They actually discussed another onigiri from Yamaguchi prefecture which is coated in kinako soy bean flour and another similar one which had azuki beans then rolled in kinako originating from Kyoto. These onigiri are very similar to the Japanese wagashi ohagi.
With that in mind I decided to make a special mountain day Ohagi onigiri to represent Mt Fuji.

I used a mix of sweet Mochi rice and Japanese rice but I didn’t pound it sticky I just kept the rice grains intact. Inside each I put some sweet red beans and then rolled the onigiri in black sesame and kinako.


Maybe you could make onigiri to take on a walk or hike for mountain day to enjoy at the summit, or just relax with a tea at home.

Here are some more onigiri ideas to inspire you or just search onigiri and find more on my recipe pages.


Blog, Summer Food

Mizu Yokan 水ようかん

Mizu Yokan (水ようかん)

As the name suggests this red bean jelly yokan is a Japanese summer wagashi that has a higher water (mizu) content than the regular Yokan you may have tried. Serve chilled its sweet, light and perfect for summertime with a sencha tea.

To make this I used a smooth bean paste called Koshian こしあん.

Last year I decided to buy a Japanese stainless steel mold with a removable inner tray called Nagashikan (流し缶). Perfect for making  Kanten Jelly or Yokan I bought it from my favourite place to buy Japanese kitchen utensils global-kitchen they are great for all your kitchen items and most are made in japan . Like this stainless steel mold made by the Shimotori Corporation which was founded in 1955 in Tsubame, Niigata, the center of cutlery and steel manufacturing.

Every time I have ordered from them the items arrive so quick direct from japan . You can check them out on Instagram and they have a link on there direct to their website. I have not been sponsored by this company. 

I have also seen these yokan poured into bamboo cups served at tea houses in Kyoto. It’s so easy to make with just a few ingredients. 

All you need is one cup of cold water added to a pan then add one teaspoon of agar agar powder whisk and bring the water to a boil simmer for a few minutes to dissolve the agar agar then turn off the heat. Spoon in 200g of smooth bean paste and keep stirring until the bean paste has dissolved add a pinch of salt mix in and your done ! Then pour into your Nagashikan if you don’t have one you could use a plastic container. However I decided last summer to invest in one as it makes making things like my coffee jelly so much easier. Leave it to cool then put in the fridge to set.

The Nagashikan will slice it for you into individual pieces.

I served mine with a dusting of soy bean powder ( kinako ) matcha is  nice also.

As this wagashi is so sweet it best served with a green tea to balance out the flavours. Delicious for a Japanese summer tea time.


Why not take it one step further and cut your yokan into smaller pieces, It’s delicious served up with soy cream.

Or try it with soft Shiratama dango and kuromitsu (black sugar syrup) made from Okinawan sugar .

Just two tablespoons of powdered sugar combined with two teaspoons of water. Heat in the microwave for one minute or in a pan, then leave to cool. If you can’t get the okinawan sugar you can use molasses thinned with a little water.

 

 

 

 

Autumn Food, Blog, Spring Food, Summer Food, Winter Food

Japanese Bread recipe for Vegan Shokupan, Anpan & Melonpan

Japanese bread is known for its light and fluffy texture, this is because the ingredients used are slightly different to that of bread you might be used to.
While I’ve been in Japan I have never tried the bread as unless you find a vegan bakery the bread will probably not be vegan. Over the last few years ( whilst most of us have been unable to travel ) some new vegan bakeries have been popping up in Tokyo which I can’t wait to try when we can safely travel again.
I decided I wanted to try making Japanese milk bread for myself at home and yes it does take a bit of effort but the rewards are great. This recipe  has produced the milkiest buttery soft bread. I have used the same bread recipe in all three breads, adding anko inside the anpan and adding a cookie layer to the melon pan.

There is nothing like the smell of fresh bread but this Japanese Shokupan I made filled the kitchen with a sweet buttery smell. Shokupan 食パン Japanese milk bread is  sometimes called Hokkaido milk bread.

This bread is so soft and fluffy and has a mochi-like texture this is due to using something called the Yudane method which originated in Japan. This is done by mixing bread flour and hot boiling water. Also I used heated bonsoy milk and vegan butter from Naturli.

Lets make Japanese milk bread !

Gather your ingredients:

400grm bread flour ( this is better for a high protein to develop  the gluten) you can try using Gluten free flour but I am unsure how your bread will turn out. I used doves farm organic bread flour. You will also need another 4 tablespoons later on when making the bread, so put this in a separate bowl with a tablespoon to hand for later.

Pour into a measuring jug 200ml of Bonsoy ( I recommend this soymilk as it has a higher soybean content ) Japanese soy milk is normally better quality but try to get the best soy milk you can.

Then take out x3 tablespoons of the soymilk and put this in a bowl for later to use as a  glaze, you will also need to add x1 teaspoon of maple syrup to the x3 tablespoon soy milk mix to combine and set aside.

Now heat up the remaining  milk in the microwave for 45 seconds, then add the yeast to activate, mix and leave for ten minutes.

60grm of Vegan butter ( I used Naturli )    Room temperature
1/2 a teaspoon of salt ( I used Himalayan pink salt)
3 tablespoons of granulated unrefined sugar.
2 teaspoons of instant yeast (I used doves farm)
You will need two mixing bowls a loaf tin and wire rack

When you have your dry ingredients ready empty  400grms of flour into one of the mixing bowls. Add to this your salt and sugar. Mix to combine.
Boil a kettle of water and start to add 8 tablespoons of boiling water to your flour mixture using a cutting method this should make what’s called a shaggy dough.


Now that your yeast has been activated ( it should float to the top of the milk like this if not it’s old yeast.)

Give the milk and yeast a stir and start to combine it into your shaggy dough. Start to combine it to form a sticky dough ball.
At this point take one of the extra tablespoons of flour and put this in your second clean bowl. Put your dough into the bowl and start to knead until it comes together if it’s still a little wet add a little more flour. Take out the dough and put it on a work surface and flatten it out, slice up your butter and put in the middle of your dough and fold the dough over the butter.



Now have your 3 tablespoons of flour to hand with a spoon next to your bowl.
Transfer the dough back into your bowl and start to knead it. THIS IS MESSY for a short while. As you start to knead and the butter starts to ooze out gradually add your flour as you knead. I’ve found from making this bread that this really helps. When your bread starts to come together into a lovely soft dough, take it out the bowl and start to vigorously knead it on a surface for at least ten minutes ( this will give you a work out lol ).
When your dough is nice and elastic form it into a ball and pop it in a clean bowl covered with a clean tea towel and place somewhere warm for at least an hour for the dough to double in size but this will depend on how warm the place is.



The best place I’ve found was a nice sunny windowsill under a radiator with the heating on. You could use a warm airing cupboard or place your bowl on the oven door with the oven on if you haven’t got anywhere else.
It’s at this point if your making melon pan you can make your cookie topping see melon pan recipe further down the page.

When your dough is ready remove it from the bowl and give it another knead for five minutes. Then form into a ball and cut in two.

(if making anpan or melon pan follow those recipes from now on)

Flatten each section out into a rectangle and fold the sides in on itself then flatten out with a rolling pin to a long shape and roll it up ( see pictures below ).

Melt a little coconut  oil or neutral oil and brush generously the inside of your loaf pan. Place each roll either side like this.

Then again cover with a tea towel and put back in your warm place until they have puffed up . Around half – one hour.


Preheat your oven moderate temperature around 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F .

When this is ready give your bowl of milk and maple syrup a mix and brush it over the top of your bread dough.

This will give the dough a lovely glaze and slightly crusty texture on the top. Place in the  oven and bake for around 30-35 minutes I normally check in on it around 25 minutes to see how it looks. Take it out the oven and allow to cool a little before tipping it out on a wire rack to cool.

As a tip I often make this bread late afternoon and allow it to cool over night completely covering it over before I go to bed. It’s much easier to cut and you have a fresh slice of shokupan for breakfast the next day.


Shokupan is also a great sandwich bread often used for classic Japanese sandwiches like fruit sando
フルーツサンド katsu sando カツサンド and Tamago Sando たまごサンド (egg sandwich).

Also delicious toasted with vegan butter and fresh jam or why not try one of my favourites Ogura Toast 小倉トースト toast with red bean jam a cafe specialty of Nagoya.

The perfect start to the day.

Anpan

If you would like to make anpan which is bread filled with anko ( red bean paste. You can buy either chunky bean paste (tsubuan) or smooth   (Koshian) from Asian grocery stores. I sometimes easily make my own ahead of time the day before by using my quick method. Just use one drained and rinsed tin of azuki beans added to a pan with water and 200grm of granulated sugar. I just let them boil down and mash them.

Afterwards transfer to a container and chill in the fridge to harden.


Make the bread as above but instead of cutting the dough into two cut it into 6-8 pieces depending on how big you want your rolls. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten out. Put a small ball of anko inside and fold the dough back over.


Place the rolls on a baking sheet with parchment paper, cover with a clean towel and proof your dough  so they have puffed up in size then glaze the tops with your soy milk/maple glaze before popping them in the oven. Rolls take a little less time around 20-25 minutes.

Melon Pan

A classic Japanese Soft, fluffy sweet bread covered in a thin layer of crisp cookie crust.

There are many theories why this bread is called Melon Pan . Maybe it’s because it looks like a cut cantaloupe melon but traditionally there is no melon inside.

Nowadays some bakeries have started to put melon purée in side or chocolate chips. Some even use matcha to give you that melon appearance.

Again make your bread as above like you would make shokupan  anpan. Then while the rolls are proofing for the first time  make your cookie crust.

Ingredients :

one tin of chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas and keep the liquid ( you can use the chickpeas for another meal ) you will need x3 tablespoons of chick pea liquid known as aquafaba. This will be your egg replacement. I like to use this over say flax seeds, fruit purée or banana as it has little taste.

60grm of vegan butter
8 tablespoons of unrefined granulated sugar  plus  another tablespoon in a separate bowl to dip the dough balls in.
150grm of plain all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.

Cream together the sugar and butter then mix in the x3 tablespoons of chick pea water. Sift in your flour and baking powder and mix into a dough. Roll into a ball.  Place in the fridge for 30 mins so it’s easier to roll. When your bread has proofed for the first time and you have kneaded it again make it into rolls by cutting a ball of dough into 6-8 pieces. I sometimes weigh the balls to make sure they are even sizes. Roll the pieces into balls and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut your cookie dough into equal portions for your bread rolls. Roll into balls and flatten out. Take each flattened cookie portion in your hand and put a dough ball inside.

Fold the cookie over the dough ball, dip the cookie portion into granulated sugar.

Then with a knife make a criss cross pattern in the dough, do this with all the remaining dough balls.


Then proof your cookie dough balls for your second proof so they puff up in size. Bake in your preheated moderate oven like the anpan.
Cool on a wire rack.

I know that making any of these breads can take a bit of time to do. I would recommend that you fit in making them while your doing other things at home, because you have to leave the breads a few times to proof for a few hours this gives you time to get on with other jobs around the house.
Hope you try making these delicious breads for yourself for a little taste of Japan at home.