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 wagashi confections have gained popularity overseas.
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.
But have you ever heard of Kintsuba (きんつば)? I wondered because it is a famous wagashi with a long history but not so popular even in Japan.
Kintsuba Yaki (きんつば焼き)
Kintsuba is the abbreviation of Kintsuba Yaki (きんつば焼き), made from sweet 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/金) means gold.
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).
Later, 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.
The name was also altered from Gin-Tsuba to Kin-Tsuba, for Kin (金: gold) is more valuable than Gin (銀: silver).
Today, the most common variety is Kaku Kintsuba (角きんつば), shaped like a brick, consisting of Tsubuan or chunky red bean paste solidified with Kanten agar and covered in a thin layer of wheat flour dough.
Other popular types include Satsuma Kintsuba (薩摩きんつば), also known as Imo Kintsuba (芋きんつば), made with sweet potato paste in place of Azuki red beans.
Where to Buy
As I mentioned above, Kintsuba Yaki is among the famous wagashi varieties, and the sweet is available at most supermarkets and convenience stores around the country.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia きんつば )