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