Wagashi: What is Jouyo Manju?
Manju (饅頭) is a representative type of Wagashi (和菓子) (Japanese confection) typically consisting of Anko (餡子) sweetened Azuki red bean paste wrapped in a wheat flour dough.
It is a steamed bun that comes in various variants, and the most common variety is Cha Manju (茶饅頭), also known as Onsen Manju (温泉まんじゅう).
Cha Manju is a soft fluffy brown cake made with wheat flour, brown sugar, and baking Soda, filled with sweet red bean paste.
Jouyo Manju (薯蕷饅頭)
However, several types of Manju do not use wheat flour, and Jouyo Manju (薯蕷饅頭) is among them.
In its name, Jouyo (薯蕷) is a synonym of Yamaimo (山芋) or Japanese mountain yam. And the Manju’s dough contains grated yam, Joshinko (上新粉) rice flour, and sugar.
Jouyo Manju is also a steamed bun filled with Anko. It is a slightly moist, soft cake, and the pair of red and white Manju Kouhaku Manju belongs to Jouyo Manju.
Kouhaku Manju (紅白饅頭)
We call the combination of red and white Kouhaku (紅白) and consider it a lucky charm.
Therefore, we customarily prepare Kouhaku Manju as a gift for guests on auspicious occasions.
Jouyou Manju (上用饅頭)
Jouyo Manju is also known as Jouyou Manju (上用饅頭: loosely meaning Manju for precious people).
And in modern times, it can refer to any Anko-stuffed Manju prepared as presents or for the Japanese tea ceremony 茶道 (Sado or Chado).