Kintsuba : What type of traditional Japanese confection is it?
“Wagashi (和菓子)” is the Japanese word that mainly refers to traditional Japanese confections.
In recent years, various types of wagashi sweets are available in many overseas countries and some of them are becoming popular.
For example, the gadget cat from the future, Doraemon’s yummy buns, “Dorayaki (どら焼き)” is a wagashi widely known around the world.
Although today many wagashi confections can be bought outside of Japan, there still exist a bunch of traditional wagashi of which many overseas people have never heard before.
If I give an example of such traditional Japanese sweets, “Kintsuba (きんつば)” is probably barely known outside of Japan, because it is a famous wagashi with a long history, but not so popular in Japan.
Then, what type of wagashi confection is Kintsuba?
Source : Wikipedia Japan
Traditionally, Kintsuba, or Kintsuba-yaki is made of sweet red bean paste covered in thin flour dough. It has a flat round shape like the Japanese sword guard called “Tsuba (つば)”.
As you can guess, the word included in the confection name, “Tsuba” comes from the shape. On the other hand, the former word, “Kin (きん, or 金)” means gold, by the way.
The origin of Kintsuba dates back to the mid Edo period (Edo : 1603 to 1868), when the Japanese confection was first created in Osaka. At that time, Kintsuba was called “Gintsuba (銀つば)” and made using rice flour.
After that, in the late 17th century, the wagashi was introduced to Edo (present Tokyo), where the ingredient of its dough was changed from rice flour to wheat flour, and the name also from Gintsuba to Kintsuba, because “Kin (金 : gold)” is more valuable than “Gin (銀)” meaning silver.
In modern times, the most common type of Kintsuba is brick-shaped and consists of mashed sweet bean paste jellied with agar, which is covered in thin flour dough. The brick-type is called “Kaku Kintsuba (角きんつば)”.
As for other major types of Kintsuba, they include “Satsuma Kintsuba (薩摩きんつば)”, or “Imo Kintsuba (芋きんつば)”, which is made of sweet potato paste covered in thin flour dough.
Where to Buy Kintsuba
The traditional wagashi confection, Kintsuba is being sold at supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan.