Kintsuba: A Wagashi Sweet Made from Azuki Red Beans
“Wagashi (和菓子)” is a word that mainly refers to traditional Japanese sweets, and in recent years, various types of wagashi confections have gained popularity outside of Japan.
As an example, the gadget cat from the future, Doraemon’s yummy buns, “Dorayaki (どら焼き)” is a wagashi variety widely known in the world.
In fact, today a number of wagashi can be bought outside of Japan, but there are still traditional Japanese sweets that many overseas people probably have never heard of before.
If I give an example of such wagashi confections, “Kintsuba (きんつば)” is probably barely known outside of Japan, because it is a famous wagashi with a long history, but not that popular even in Japan.
Kintsuba Yaki (きんつば焼き)
Kintsuba, or “Kintsuba Yaki (きんつば焼き)” is made from sweetened Azuki red bean paste coated in a thin layer of wheat flour dough.
In its name, “Tsuba (つば)” originally refers to a Japanese sword guard, like which traditional Kintsuba is shaped, while “Kin (きん or 金)” means gold in Japanese.
The origin of Kintsuba Yaki dates back to the mid-Edo period, about 400 years ago, when the confection was first made in Osaka using rice flour and given the name “Gintsuba (銀つば)”.
Afterward in the late 17th century, the wagashi was transmitted to Edo (present-day Tokyo) where the ingredient in its coating was changed from rice flour to wheat flour, and also the name from Gin-tsuba to Kin-tsuba for the reason that “Kin (金: gold)” is more valuable than “Gin (銀: silver)”.
In modern times, the most common variety is “Kaku Kintsuba (角きんつば)”, which is shaped like a brick, consisting of Tsubuan or chunky red bean paste solidified with Kanten agar, covered in a thin layer of wheat flour dough.
And the other popular types include “Satsuma Kintsuba (薩摩きんつば)”, also known as “Imo Kintsuba (芋きんつば)”, which is made with sweet potato paste in place of Azuki red bean paste.
Where to Buy
As I mentioned above, Kintsuba Yaki is among the famous wagashi varieties, so the sweet can be bought in supermarkets and convenience stores around the country.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia きんつば )