Kuzu Manju: Sweet Red Bean Paste Filled Kudzu Jelly
Wagashi is the word for traditional Japanese confections, and “Manju (饅頭)” is a representative type of Wagashi with several hundred years of history.
Although in modern times Manju comes in many different types, it is basically a steamed cake (pastry) filled with “Anko (餡子)” sweetened Azuki red bean paste.
The dough is typically made from wheat flour, but even a jelly-like Manju exists, which is actually a kind of “Kuzumochi (葛餅)”.
Kuzu Manju (葛饅頭)
Kuzumochi is a type of Wagashi that is made from kudzu arrowroot starch, sugar, and water. The Japanese sweet features its milky-white, translucent appearance which gives a fresh, cool impression perfect for summer.
What I introduce here, the Kuzumochi whose name includes the word “Manju” is called “Kuzu Manju (葛饅頭, くずまんじゅう)”.
Kuzu Manju (くずまんじゅう)
Kuzu Manju is the Kuzumochi with Anko paste in the center. In other words, the sweet red bean paste is covered in the outer kudzu jelly, which has a distinctive texture.
The jelly part has a jiggly but slightly chewy texture like konnyaku jelly and is fresh and sweetish, while the Anko paste inside has a somewhat stronger, refined sweetness than the outer covering.
Lastly, here is the ingredient list, Based on that, the Kuzu Manju I bought this time consists of reduced sugar syrup, sugar, Azuki red beans, powdered wafer, corn starch, agar, konjac powder, kudzu starch, and salt.
Kuzu Manju, together with Kuzukiri (葛きり), is one of the recommended Japanese summer desserts.
It can be bought in supermarkets and convenience stores around the country during hot summer months, so if you are interested and get a chance, why not give it a try?