Wagashi Sweets: Tsubuan Monaka and Koshian Monaka

As I mentioned in this article about “Tsubu-An (粒あん)” and “Koshi-An (こし餡)”, the chunky and smooth “Anko (餡子)” red bean pastes are often used in “Wagashi (和菓子)” traditional Japanese confections.

Monaka (最中)

Tsubuan Monaka

When it comes to Wagashi sweets made with Anko paste, what I introduce here, “Monaka (最中)” is a quintessential example whose origin dates back to the mid-Edo period, about 300 years ago.

Wagashi Monaka

Monaka is a common Wagashi variety traditionally consisting of Anko (sweetened Azuki red bean paste) sandwiched in between 2 thin crisply baked rice wafers.

Monaka Ice Cream

Monaka Ice Cream

In modern times, the vanilla ice cream version, “Monaka Ice (最中アイス)” has been an ice cream staple in Japan and is available in supermarkets and convenience stores throughout the year.

Tsubuan Monaka and Koshian Monaka 

Wagashi Tsubuan Monaka

What I have now, “Tsubuan Monaka (粒あん最中)” is a common type of Monaka filled with chunky sweet red bean paste.

But in addition, the Koshi-An version “Koshian Monaka (こし餡最中)” and the Ogura-An version “Oguraan Monaka (小倉最中)” are also widely enjoyed.

Monaka Dane 

Daruma-Shaped Koshian Monaka

The wafers served with Anko paste are called “Monaka Dane (最中種)” which is typically made from “Mochi-Ko (餅粉) or glutinous rice flour, starch, and sweetened egg yolk.

Monaka Dane traditionally has a square or round shape, but in recent years it comes in various shapes and designs.

Why not try Anko with lightly salted crackers?

Crackers with Anko and Matcha Ice Cream

It may be difficult to get the Monaka Dane wafers outside of Japan, but the Anko bean paste makes a nice pair with lightly salted crackers as well.

Nowadays, Anko can also be bought on online marketplaces outside of Japan, so If you are curious about the food combo, why not give it a try?


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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