Uiro: Nagoya’s Specialty Steamed Rice Cake
Last November, I went to Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture to see a live concert of Perfume that was held at Nagoya Dome. By the way, Perfume is a popular Japanese techno-pop girl trio and I’m a fan of them
The next day of the event, I did some sightseeing in the city of Nagoya and bought its local confection “Uiro (ういろう)”, because my parents living in Niigata like it and asked me to take it back home.
Actually, Uiro is a traditional Japanese sweet or wagashi made from rice flour. Specifically, rice flour is kneaded with water and sugar, molded, and steamed in the steaming basket called “Seiro (蒸籠)”.
The steamed rice cake, Uiro looks like “Yokan (羊羹)“, but compared to Yokan, it is chewier in texture. Not only in Nagoya but in various places of Japan, there are many variations of Uiro.
The majority of Uiro available in Japan are made from rice flour (glutinous, non-glutinous), but the confection can also be made of bracken starch or wheat flour.
Besides, in addition to white sugar, other varieties of sugar, such as brown sugar, may also be used in the confection.
Uiro often uses flavorings such as sweetened Azuki red bean paste and Matcha green tea powder.
One theory holds that the origin of Uiro dates back to the middle of the 14th century, after which during the Edo period (1603 to 1868), its producing method spread in various areas of Japan.
Today, several regions are famous for their Uiro confections, which include Nagoya, Odawara, Ise, Kyoto, Kobe, Tokushima, and Yamaguchi.
Incidentally, the confectionery maker founded in 1879 in Nagoya, “Aoyagi Sohonke (青柳総本家)” is Japan’s largest Uiro producer and its products have a registered trademark “Aoyagi Uiro (青柳ういろう)”.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia ういろう )