JAPANESE SWEETS AND SNACKS

In Japan, sweets are born as origami, created with very bright and well-kept colors. The appearance is fundamental: the neutral bases are modeled and decorated differently depending on the occasion, giving a characteristic imprint to each holiday.

Here then are various traditional Japanese sweets to taste at least once in a lifetime.


Taiyaki: the name of this dish translates as grilled sea bream, however it has only the shape of the fish. It is in fact a delicious dessert, the most common filling of which is anko, a sweetened azuki bean paste.



Green tea ice cream: to finish with a decidedly refreshing dessert, you must try the most popular ice cream in Japan. The original shape was to recall Mount Fuji and was an elaboration of crushed ice with matcha tea, which has been known in Asia for almost always. Although it appeared among the sophisticated dishes of the Meiji period royal menus, today it is marketed in colorful packaged versions.



Anmitsu: this is a dessert that can give us both retro and exotic flavors at the same time: the chopped fruit (usually pineapple, peach and cherries) is thickened with agar agar jelly and apple juice, then flavored with azuki bean compote.





Anpan: A very popular delicious filled candy, ideal for snacks and green tea snacks. Invented by a former samurai, it is a sweet bun richly stuffed with sweetened azuki paste or, more rarely, with sesame or white beans.





Castella: The universe of sponge cakes finds its synthesis in Japan in this essential and tasty dessert. The cake has a rectangular shape for 27 centimeters in length and is prepared with flour, eggs, sugar, starch syrup. The name reveals its origin: Castella derives from Castile, it seems that Portuguese merchants brought it to Nagasaki, even in the sixteenth century.





Chinsuko: Ancient Okinawan biscuit, perfect to accompany a good steaming tea. The dough is made from flour, sugar and lard (sometimes replaced with oil); after being processed, it is quickly cooked in the oven. The two best known variants include the addition of matcha or toasted sesame seeds.





Mochi: The custom was to celebrate the New Year, but for decades now mochi have been popular in every season. The boiled rice must be pounded in a mortar and then shaped into pretty little balls. For the gaskets, there are dozens of variations; among the best known: botamochi with red bean paste, sakuramochi with marinated cherry leaves. For a particularly rich version, daifuku is used: stuffed with anko and then garnished with chopped fruit, corn starch, powdered sugar.





Yatsuhashi. It is the dessert you must buy to have a sweet memory of Kyoto; it is a kind of crunchy pastry obtained by passing glutinous rice flour, sugar and cinnamon in the oven. You can also find nama yatsuhashi: sweet ravioli that have the same dough, but are then stuffed.





Rakugan: Among the most spectacular Japanese sweets, ragukan are obtained thanks to special molds, usually in the shape of flowers and plants. The dough is made from glutinous rice, water and sugar, to which many dyes are added.





Melonpan: Typical Japanese bread, it has come to conquer China and even various regions of Latin America. The mixture of water and flour is strengthened by a top layer of biscuit dough. To justify the name (probably originally called the shape), melon aroma is often added. The greediest also demand a few drops of chocolate.





Sata andagi: If you are afraid that the Japanese do not fry, console yourself with this delicious recipe. Flour, sugar and eggs shape into a ball and drop into boiling oil; in Okinawa, the homeland, the techniques are handed down to obtain them always crunchy on the outside and soft in the heart.





Dorayaki: Simple and tasty, it is perhaps one of the most representative Japanese sweets; two soft pancakes contain a filling of anko (the very traditional sweet pastry made from azuki beans). The legend that is at the base even recalls a samurai and his gong (it seems that the shape must remember that very instrument); it has been in two layers since 1914, thanks to a historic pastry shop in Tokyo.





Dango: They are tasty sweet skewers, in which three or four balls of glutinous rice are stuffed. Everything is to garnish them in the right way, according to the occasions: with sesame seeds, millet flour, anko, with toasted soy, starch syrup; the dango bocchan then comes in three colors, respectively due to red beans, eggs, green tea.