Mizu Manju: A Traditional Japanese Summer Jelly Dessert
As it is getting warmer day by day in Japan, some supermarkets here in Niigata have started to sell summer desserts at the best place in the store. Among such summer treats, what quickly caught my eye during the last shopping was this “Mizu Manju (水まんじゅう)” assortment.
That day was pretty hot, so I was in the mood for some summer dessert. I could see the fascinating jewelry like confections through the clear plastic covering the pack and instantly came to a decision.
Mizu Manju (水まんじゅう)
These beautiful looking desserts are called Mizu Manju, which is a traditional Japanese “Wagashi (和菓子)” sweet that is said to have originated in Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture around 1897. As the word “Mizu (水)” means water in Japanese, they look very fresh.
Mizu Manju vs Kuzu Manju
Kuzu Manju (葛饅頭)
Actually, Mizu Manju is very similar to Kuzu Manju in appearance and both are typically filled with sweet bean paste. However, they are slightly different in the ingredients of the jelly dough.
Mizu Manju (水饅頭)
According to the article “水まんじゅう” on Wikipedia Japan, while the outer covering of Kuzu Manju is basically made from kudzu arrowroot starch, sugar and water, the jelly like dough of Mizu Manju also uses bracken root starch in addition to kudzu starch.
Since bracken root starch is resistant to water, in general Mizu Manju’s jelly dough is softer than that of Kuzu Manju, even though they are close in texture and both somewhat chewy.
Matcha Mizu Manju
In recent years, Mizu Manju comes in various different flavors and fillings, and this assortment included Matcha Mizu Manju using matcha green tea powder and “Shiro An (白あん)”, a type of Anko paste made from white kidney beans.