Genkotsu Ame: Hida’s Traditional Kinako Dagashi Candy
For its old, historical town streets, “Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)” is a popular tourist destination in Japan. The region is comprised of the 2 areas “Hida (飛騨)” and “Takayama (高山)”, both of which are actually names of cities in Gifu Prefecture. By the way, the 2016 big hit Japanese anime movie “Kimi No Na Wa (君の名は: Your Name)” has a scene modeled after the city of Hida.
Speaking of Hida, the city has several nationally famous specialties. In terms of food, “Hida-Gyu (飛騨牛)” is a brand of Wagyu (Japanese beef cattle) that Hida boasts and what I introduce here, the traditional Kinako Dagashi candy called “Genkotsu Ame (げんこつ飴: Fist Candy)” is favored by tourists as a souvenir of the region.
Genkotsu Ame (げんこつ飴)
Made by kneading a mixture of glutinous starch syrup and sugar, Genkotsu Ame is a Kinako roasted soybean flour-coated soft candy, which is sometimes flavored using matcha green tea powder, sesame seeds, or Yomogi mugwort.
If you go on a sightseeing trip to Hida and stop by a convenience store, you may find packages of Genkotsu Ame, for the Kinako candy is not only popular as a souvenir, but it is actually a standard sweet for locals living in the region.
Kinako Candy Recipe
The Hida’s specialty Kinako candy, Genkotsu Ame is relatively easy to make, so last, for those who are interested in the recipe, let me introduce one from cookpad.com.
- Melt the starch syrup in a pot by heating over low heat so as not to scorch it
- Add in the sugar, stir well until the mixture becomes foamy, then add a tablespoon of water and continue stirring
- Add the Kinako flour and remove the pot from the heat
- Make 1 cm sticks from the paste on a board that is thinly covered with Kinako flour
- Let the sticks cool down, and then before they harden, cut them into bite-size pieces with scissors or the like
- Leave the pieces for a while in order for them to totally cool down
- Ready to eat, enjoy the Kinako candy!