Tag Archives: anko

Shokupan … Japanese Eating Bread

Shokupan is a very popular daily or “eating bread” in Japan.

In light of my summer obsession with expanding my repertoire of Japanese foods, I couldn’t pass up giving it a try. The blog where I found the recipe has two easy-to-follow versions. The easier of the two is kneaded very briefly in a food processor … and I’m all about EASY recipes or techniques.

I always find sight of the risen dough appealing, don’t you?

And, of course, the crumb shot … delicious spread with some sweet softened butter.

For a second attempt at the recipe, I shaped the dough into stuffed buns.

I choose both anko (sweetened red bean paste, on the left) and lotus seed paste (on the right) for the filling.

I was experimenting with a coloured whipping cream wash (not necessary in baked buns but should give a nice golden colour in a future steamed bun version) and the crease in the middle for the lotus seed paste filled buns. It’s supposed to resemble the dried lotus seeds after removing the germ.

REVIEW: The bread is fast and easy to make in the food processor and the taste is delicious. What more do you need? Give it a try.

Picspam: Strawberry Dango and Mochi Pt. 2

Sorry for the picture overload but I didn’t want to make multiple posts and used as few pictures as I could to give an accurate representation of each confection.

The recipes I used were found on various blogs and Youtube videos. I scaled down the recipes and didn’t take good notes so until I repeat some of these projects, I’m not going to worry about sharing recipes or links.

An Overview … dango, mochi and daifuku

Strawberry Dango

For these strawberry dango I started by making a strawberry puree and using that as the liquid in making the dango ‘dough’. Then, I shaped the dango, boiled them and threaded them onto skewers. The cold dango were served with the strawberry puree as a sauce.

REVIEW: I was disappointed in the result. They were acceptable freshly made but, after refrigeration, the dango were gummy and kind of gross. I’m willing to blame the failure on my technique but until I can figure out what to do differently, I’m unlikely to try to make them again.

Ice-cream Mochi

Frozen ice cream balls are wrapped in a thin shell of mochi ‘dough’. I started out by spooning slightly softened ice cream (French vanilla ice cream) into an ice cream scoop, packing it down and then froze the balls. I had the choice of cooking the mochi paste/dough in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave. Of course, I chose the faster/easier/lazier method. Unfortunately, microwaves are different and an extra 15 sec more or less DOES make a difference. I THINK I cooked it enough. But I’m not sure.

In any case, I dumped the cooked paste onto a bed of cornstarch, rolled it out using a rolling pin, generously coated with more cornstarch, and divided it into the number of portions needed. And then I ATTEMPTED to roll the paste snuggly around the frozen ice cream ball.

Sorry about the poor pictures. I started making these around 9 or 10 pm and my lighting was poor. I made enough paste to wrap around four ice cream balls.

The cornstarch on the outside of the mochi ball actually makes it look better than brushing it off, for presentation. Unfortunately, it’s tasteless. I suppose that I could have used icing sugar as some recipes recommend. But it’s not traditional … and that’s what I was going for.

Ignore the cut paper muffin paper in the picture below. The mochi shell/wrap was thin and soft as required but the bubbles were unsightly.

REVIEW: Seems simple but the result was just kind of sad … visually. Taste wise, they were fine. I would make them again when I buy more Mochiko flour. And get some more interesting ice cream flavours.

For the next two confections (the second is a variation of the first), I used anko (sweetened red bean paste). I had the choice of either smooth or coarse paste and chose the latter. A strawberry puree was used to flavour/hydrate the mochi dough.

Packages of Smooth and Coarse Anko

Strawberry Mochi

Strawberry Daifuku

These are very perishable confections as the fresh strawberry in the middle seems to ooze out liquid as the confection stands. The anko is wrapped around a whole strawberry and then the strawberry flavoured mochi is wrapped around that. I only made two of the daifuku and two of the plain mochi.

REVIEW: I enjoyed both the plain mochi and the daifuku but if I were to make one of them again, it would be the plain mochi.

Dorayaki (Japanese “Pancake” Sandwich)

Dorayaki is a delicious Japanese snack or confection which traditionally consists of a sweet red bean paste (anko) sandwiched between two ‘pancakes’. Slightly different versions of the recipe may be found on several blogs but this is the first one I ran across some time ago, on Nami’s “Just One Cookbook” site. It uses the Mochiko (sweet rice flour) that I mentioned in the previous post though I HAVE seen a recipe which used all purpose flour.

I made a half batch of the recipe, and, even though I forgot to add the water, which I figured out after the fourth pancake, I still ended up with some edible, though misshapen early results. The final six pancakes, after I added about half of the amount of water listed into the remaining batter, were perfect.

Dorayaki with Sweet Red Bean Paste

The pancakes are easy to make though you DO have to be careful about the cooking temperature (medium-low is definitely advised) since the sugar and honey can burn quite easily if you exceed the temperature suggested. Moderation in the amount of filling is also necessary. Too much and you won’t be able to shape the pancakes around it and gently ‘pinch’ the edges closed. I used a ‘coarse’ sweet bean paste with some bean pieces left in it to fill the pancakes. Definitely use the plastic wrap to help in the shaping.

  

I used red bean paste (purchased) for the filling, because I like the taste, but if you can’t get it or don’t like it, and want to try something else, a thick pastry cream, crunchy peanut butter and Nutella and very lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruit are alternative fillings.