Shio Yokan: Japanese Salted Sweet Red Bean Jelly
A while ago, I posted an article about the difference between Neri Yokan, Mizu Yokan, and Mushi Yokan.
Actually, they are 3 major types of traditional Japanese sweets called “Yokan (羊羹)”, and when we just say “Yokan”, that usually refers to the most common variety, “Neri Yokan (練羊羮)”.
As you may already know, Yokan is a bean jelly confection made from a mixture of sweetened Azuki red bean paste “Anko (餡子)” and water that has been solidified with agar called “Kanten (寒天)”.
Shio Yokan (塩羊羹: Salt Yokan)
As you can imagine from the above, Yokan is a simple Wagashi confection that is easy to make. The traditional Japanese dessert can basically be made with the 3 ingredients, Anko, water, and Kanten.
Actually, some Yokan cakes available in Japan have a pinch of salt added, and the salted Yokan is called “Shio Yokan (塩羊羹: literally Salt Yokan)”, which is also a common type of Yokan, together with Neri Yokan, Mizu Yokan, and Mushi Yokan.
I think the primary reason why Shio Yokan contains a little amount of salt in it is that salt can help accentuate the sweetness of the bean jelly.
Now I have a cake of Shio Yokan made with “Wajima Salt (輪島塩)”. When you hear “Wajima (輪島)”, that might remind you of the Wajima-Nuri lacquerware. Actually, in addition to the traditional craft, the city in Ishikawa Prefecture, Wajima is known for its tasty salt made using an ancient salt production method.
This Shio Yokan appears to be just the same thing as Neri Yokan. This is because it is the jelly confection that is made just by adding a pinch of salt to the regular Yokan, Neri Yokan.
Although the Japanese bean jelly is made with salt, it is not salty at all but deliciously sweet. As for the texture, the salted Yokan is just as firm and smooth as Neri Yokan.
Shio Yokan Recipe
Lastly, for people who are interested in the classic Japanese bean dessert, let me introduce an easy-to-make Shio Yokan recipe from the popular Japanese recipe site, Rakuten Recipe.
Image and Recipe: Rakuten Recipe
|Sweetened Red Beans (Amazon.com)||200g|
|Kanten Agar (Amazon.com)||1g|
- First, put water and the Kanten agar in a small pot
- Heat and cook the mixture, stirring with a rice scoop, for about 2 minutes until the Kanten powder dissolves in the water
- Add the red beans and salt to the pot
- Stir the ingredients together well, and turn off the heat
- Then, pour the mixture into a container
- Let it cool down moderately, and then place and chill it in the refrigerator
- When the mixture becomes jelly, cut it into bite-size pieces
- Enjoy the Shio Yokan!