Wagashi: 4 Types of Youkan (羊羹) Sweets

Youkan (羊羹), also spelled Yokan, is a traditional Japanese confection that appears for the first time in a document written in the late 1300s.

It is a Wagashi sweet made from Anko (餡子) red bean paste simmered in water and solidified with Kanten (寒天) agar.

4 Types of Youkan

Youkan comes in 4 types, and today, I will give an overview of each for people who know little about the Wagashi confection.

Neri Youkan (煉羊羹)

Neri Youkan (Yokan)

First, Neri Youkan is the most common type of Youkan. This one uses quite a little Kanten, and it’s a pasty red bean cake.

Since Neri Yokan contains lots of sugar and has a long shelf life, it serves as an emergency food in Japan.

Mizu Youkan (水羊羹)

Mizu Youkan (Yokan) 

As Mizu (水) means water in Japanese, Mizu Youkan is more watery than Neri Youkan. In other words, this type contains a lower proportion of Kanten than Neri Yokan.

The difference in texture between Neri Youkan and Mizu Youkan is similar to the relation between firm tofu and soft tofu.

We Japanese often eat Mizu Youkan during the hot summer months, for the jelly dessert has a fresh appearance and refreshing taste.

Mushi Youkan (蒸し羊羹)

Kuri Mushi Youkan (Yokan) 

Mushi Youkan is a steamed Youkan variety and doesn’t use Kanten. This one consists of Azuki red bean paste mixed with wheat or kudzu flour.

Mushi Youkan typically contains sweet boiled chestnuts, and the variety is called Kuri Mushi Youkan (栗蒸し羊羹).

Decchi Youkan (丁稚羊羹)

Decchi Youkan (Yokan)Image: cookpad.com

Eaten around the Kinki region of West Japan, Decchi Youkan is the frugal version of Youkan made with fewer Azuki red beans and less sugar than regular types of Youkan.

Decchi Youkan is available in various variations, which include Neri Youkan, Mizu Youkan, and Mushi Youkan versions.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia 羊羹 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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