Yokan: Japanese Delight Perfect for Any Occasion

I said few months ago that I would write a separate post about this Japanese dessert that is usually consumed during summertime, the Mizu-Yokan, made with more water than the usual one. I know it has been few months and I’ve been so lazy in writing blog posts. But hey, it is always better late than never, right? So here it is.

I bought three yokan types in Japan and in the image below, you can find two types: the original version with red bean and another version with green tea. Both tasted delicious and I regret that I hadn’t bought more. The two types I bought are good not only for summer but also for anytime. In fact, I ate them in winter (last February) and in early spring (in the beginning of April).

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Yokan, as I mentioned earlier, is made of red bean paste. Talking about the form, it is a thick, sweet and jellied dessert, using agar (jelly-like substance). Its story dates back to around 900 years ago, in the 12th century, when it was first brought by Buddhist monks who returned back from China.

Originally, its writing has the character “Sheep” and previously, it was unfortunately made by using gelatine coming from boiling sheep, as it was recognised sheep/meat soup in China. In the past, it was consumed only by Buddhist monks and as Buddhism believes in vegetarian concept, they forbade using animal ingredients. Therefore, the gelatine used for Yokan has been replaced with red bean, which to me sounds brilliant.

Furthermore, when in the 17th century they invented agar, this ingredient is also utilised to make the newer version of Japanese yokan, the modern version of the dessert that now has been loved by not only Japanese but also by many others in the world.

This dessert has quite long shelf life if it is not opened or if it is vacuum-sealed. In fact, mine lasted 6 months. Once I opened it, I finished it in 2-3 days for the one with bigger packaging. You know what? It was not because I had to finish it so that it wouldn’t go bad but simply because I loved it so much and totally enjoyed the dessert, making me unable to wait.

And no doubt, it is very understandable that not only the Japanese like it. Have you ever tried this sweet? Is it available in your country if you don’t live in Japan? What do you think about it?

 

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