Fu Manju: Kyoto’s Anko-Stuffed Wheat Gluten Cake
Known as a traditional Japanese confection or Wagashi, “Manju (饅頭)” is a steamed bun filled with sweet Azuki red bean paste or “Anko (餡子)”. There are many variations of Manju cakes in various areas in Japan, and the dough can be made with various ingredients.
In many cases, the main ingredient of the dough is wheat flour and according to the variety, other ingredients, such as brown sugar and baking soda, are added. Incidentally, if I give a representative example of Manju whose bun is made without using wheat flour, what comes to my mind is Kyoto’s “Fu-Manju (麩饅頭)”.
As you may know, “Fu (麩)” is a traditional Japanese food made of wheat gluten which comes in various forms, such as “Yaki-Fu (焼き麩: Baked bread-like wheat gluten)” and “Nama-Fu (生麩: Steamed wheat gluten)”.
Fu-Manju is made from Nama-Fu, but as with regular Manju buns, the steamed wheat gluten cake is stuffed with Anko sweetened red bean paste. The cake itself is fresh and characterized by Nama-Fu’s distinctive soft chewy texture, while the Anko filling is smooth with moderate refined sweetness.
As you can see in the photo above, Fu-Manju is sometimes wrapped in a bamboo leaf and eaters can also enjoy its herby scent at the same time.
According to the ingredient list, in addition to wheat gluten, the dough of the Fu-Manju I bought this time consists of mugwort and glutinous rice powder.
Where to Buy
Fu-Manju is eaten locally, particularly in Kyoto, Aichi, Ishikawa, Osaka, and Wakayama Prefectures. Speaking of Kyoto’s Fu-Manju, the Nama-Fu specialty shop “Fuka (麩嘉)” (Google Map) is especially famous for their Fu-Manju.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 麩饅頭 )