Wagashi: Canned Anmitsu from Nihonbashi Eitaro Honpo
In the city where I live, now cherry blossoms “Sakura (桜)” are almost at their best, though this year unfortunately there aren’t any festivals related to “Hanami (花見)” or cherry blossom viewing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, the cherry trees came into blossom earlier than every year because of warmer temperatures, so the summer is likely to come sooner as well.
For that reason, as early as today, I picked up a traditional Japanese Wagashi sweet that represents Japan’s summer season for this blog article, which is called “Anmitsu (あんみつ)”.
Anmitsu is a traditional Japanese dessert consisting of various ingredients such as bite-size fruits, translucent Kanten (agar) jelly cubes, sweet Azuki red bean paste called “An (餡)”, and Shiratama Dango dumplings, which is dressed with “Mitsu (蜜)”, a black or white molasses syrup.
Actually, Anmitsu is a compound word of “An (餡)” and “Mitsu (蜜)” and definitely uses the sweet Azuki red bean paste “An (餡)” and the molasses syrup with black or white color “Mitsu (蜜)” in the dessert.
In Japan, not only can Anmitsu be eaten in tea houses and sweet parlors during the hot summer months, but the confection can actually be enjoyed all the year round with canned Anmitsu available in supermarkets and department stores around the country.
Nihonbashi Eitaro Honpo’s Anmitsu Can
When it comes to canned Anmitsu, the one shown above from “Nihonbashi Eitaro Honpo (日本橋榮太棲本舗)” is one of the most famous. Eitaro Honpo is a long-established Wagashi shop founded in 1818 in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, which first introduced the Anmitsu can in 1978.
Contents and Shelf life
In the box, there is a small Anmitsu steel can, which comes with “Kuro-Mitsu (黒みつ: black syrup)” and “Koshi-An (こしあん)” packets. As you can see in the picture below, this canned Anmitsu has a long shelf life and can be kept for over a year.
How to Prepare
Therefore, this canned dessert, which I bought for about 350 yen (about 3.5 USD) at a supermarket near my house, is easy to carry around and would be a nice souvenir or gift. So for those who want to try this Anmitsu can someday, here I will share how to prepare it with photos.
|1||First, lift the pull tab of the can to a 90-degree angle and pour away the syrup inside|
|2||Then, remove the lid and transfer the Anmitsu inside into a shallow bowl|
|3||Dress the Anmitsu with the Kuro-Mitsu black syrup|
|4||Put the Koshi-An paste onto the Anmitsu|
|5||Enjoy with a spoon/fork!|
Ingredients and Taste
The main ingredients in the Anmitsu itself are yellow and white peaches, pineapple, orange, sugars (Johakuto, granulated sugar), boiled red peas, and Kanten jelly cubes, while the Kuro-Mitsu is made from granulated sugar, Okinawa’s Kokuto brown raw sugar, jaggery, and starch syrup.
As for the taste, the Kuro-Mitsu sauce has a refined sweetness, while the Kanten cubes are almost tasteless. But the agar jelly is pleasantly fresh and can well offset the sweet taste from the fruits, An, and Mitsu.