OK, since I am working from home today I dug up my wagashi cookbook.
No guarantees since these recipes are NOT tested and also been through
a horrible translator (me :-). Also, if I remember correctly the cup
and teaspon/tablespoon measures do NOT translate 1-to-1 with US measures.
(if anyone knows what the conversion is please post!)
I tried to pick out some easy ones using relatively common ingredients (IMHO).
If anyone tries these, let me know if they worked ok, maybe I'll try
them as a school project ;- )
Mizuyokan (makes 8)... this is a traditional summer sweet.
1 stick agar agar
700g (about 1 1/2 lbs) smooth sweet bean paste (koshian)
(this I have seen dried in Chinese stores,
may find canned in Japanese grocery stores but don't get the kind that
has whole beans in it... a "from scratch" recipe follows)
1/4 tsp salt
8 cherry tree leaves
Wash agar agar well, wring out moisture then break into little pieces.
(I have seen powders too!). Soak 30 minutes ore more in 4 cups water.
Then heat on medium heat until melted.
Add the bean paste gradually. Heat until all blaneded and little bubbles
appear on the surface. Simmer on low 1 - 2 more minutes.
Remove from heat, add salt. Float saucepan in a bowl of cold water, and
mix continuously until cooled to about skin temperature.
Rinse out a square pan (there is a special metal pan that lifts out in
2 pieces, but any shallow pan will work) with cold water. Pour in the
mixture and refrigerate til firm. (It should be about 2" thick max).
Cut into pieces when firm and wrap with cherry tree leaves.
Cha(tea)manju makes 12
100g white flour
35g dark brown sugar
50g white sugar
2/3 tsp baking powder
koshian (smooth bean paste) 300-400g
Break up any chunks in the brown sugar, and mix with 1 TBSP water and the
white sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on low until sugar is melted, let
Mix baking powder with 2/3 tsp water, then add to the sugar mixture.
Sift flour then add to the liquid. Knead into a log (using more flour if
needed), divide into 12 pieces.
Make 12 little balls with the koshian. Take each piece of dough and
stretch it out, put a ball of koshian in the middle and wrap it into a
ball shape. Put each ball on a piece of 1"/3cm square wax paper.
Steam in a steamer lined with a dishcloth for 12-15minutes over boiling
Koshian (yield: 230g)
1cup adzuki beans (Dainagon is the preferred type... don't ask me why/what!)
2 cups sugar
Wash beans well. Simmer with 4 cups water about 40-50minutes. Add water
if needed to keep the beans covered. When you can squash a bean easily
between your fingers, drain the beans and mash them. In a mesh basket
(preferably bamboo :-) over a large bowl, strain the bean mixture in
batches by pushing through the mesh under running water (the idea is to
leave the bean skins in the basket).
Put the liquid you strained into a linen/cotton bag (a jelly bag seems like
it will work... says about 25cmx25cm or 12"x12"), and squeeze out the
water with your hands by twisting the bag.
Have a large bowl of water, and knead the bag in the water (this is to
get the bitterness out) changing the water several times. Squeeze the
water out at the end as much as possible.
Add an equal amount of sugar into a saucepan with the bean paste from the
bag. Mix with a wooden spoon and knead over low heat (careful not to burn it).
Add salt and mix to desired "stiffness".
Another variation, instead of just adding sugar, make a sugar syrup first
with an equal amount (weight) of sugar, 40% water, and 1% salt. Then
add the bean paste and mix well over low heat.
White "an" can be made the same way using white beans. Change the water
during the inital boing 2-3 times to make sure the beans stay white.
Also, very important in the last step not to start burning!