Kokuto Manju (Raw sugar-flavored bun filled with sweet red bean paste)
Manju is another traditional Japanese sweet snack. Soft and sweet, goes very well with Japanese green tea. I often enjoy it with some black tea or coffee, too.
Bean paste bun is one of the most popular traditional Japanese sweets. There are so many variations, and Kokuto Manju is one of them. It’s a raw sugar-flavored bun filled with sweet red bean paste.
Kokuto means raw sugar. Some translate it as brown sugar, but they are totally different.
When you evaporate sugar cane juice, brownish crystals start to form. The raw sugar is the concentrate without further purification.
It means molasses is not separated, as well as vitamins, minerals and other impurities. After separating all these, you get white sugar with 98% sucrose content.
Brown sugar is a mixture of white sugar and various amounts of molasses added back.
Raw sugar is more difficult to dissolve in water, and has lower sucrose content than white sugar. But many Japanese like it due to its characteristic bitterness and flavor.
The calorie contents of the raw and white sugar are similar. But people tend to prefer raw sugar to white sugar because you can feel it more natural (and, indeed it is).
Manju is perfect for a short break after a hard work. If you come to Japan, it’s definitely something you have to try. The only thing you have to bare in mind is “sugar is sugar”. So, don’t eat it too much!
You can buy Kokuto Manju supermarkets or convenience Japan. But for those who like to try making themselves or can’t get one nearby, here’s a simple recipe for 20 pieces.
- Dissolve 0.2oz (6g) of baking soda in a teaspoon of soy sauce and the same amount of water.
- Put 4.0oz (120g) of raw sugar and 2.0us fl oz (60cc) of water in a pot.
- Mix them well on low heat until you don’t see clumping.
- Stop the heating, and add the dissolved baking soda (from step 1).
- Add 5.6oz (160g) of cake flour, and mix well.
- Put the dough (from step 5) in a refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
- Sprinkle flour on a plastic wrap to prevent sticking.
- Divide the dough (from step 6) equally into 20, putting each portion on the wrap (from step 7).
- .Coat your hand thinly with flour.
- Spread a portion of the dough (from step 8) on your hand to coat mashed sweet bean paste. About 0.5-0.7oz (15-20g) of the paste would be just the right amount.
- Shape them round and put on a small piece of kitchen paper towel.
- Make and put all 20 pieces on a separate paper towel.
- Steam them in a steamer on medium heat for 10 minutes.
- They swell to 1.5 times.
- Ready to enjoy!Best for 3 days.
- After that, the skin is getting harder.
- If the skin gets harder, you can soften it by re-steaming or putting in a microwave oven for about 10 seconds.
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Kokuto Manju cut by Syosaku petty knife on Syosaku Urushi Glass Charger Plate - Majestic White with Gold Leaf, Dishwasher Safe