Updated: December 13, 2017
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What's Mizu Yokan And How To Make It?

Japan's summer often gets very hot and humid. Mizu yokan (水ようかん), or red bean sweet jelly, is one of the popular summer desserts of Japan that can make you cool down. This article will introduce what is mizu yokan and how people enjoy it. Also, I will introduce a recipe of how to make authentic mizu yokan!

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Mizu yokan

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Mizu Yokan (水ようかん/水羊羹) is a simple dessert made of red bean paste, agar, and sugar. The word yokan itself refers to this red bean jelly, and when it is chilled, it is called mizu (means water) yokan. It is particularly popular during summertime in Japan.

Mizu yokan contains less agar and more water, which makes the texture softer and smoother than a standard yokan. It is a refreshing and sophisticated-looking dessert. You can enjoy the natural flavors of the red beans that are the true taste of the Japanese traditional dessert.

Common Variations of The Mizu Yokan

The section above explained what the standard dessert is, but there are a few variations of the mizu yokan you'll often find in Japan.
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A nice addition to the yokan are chestnuts, which are also a traditional ingredient in Japanese cuisine. They have a natural sweetness that goes very well with the red beans.
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Another addition to the mizu yokan is this powder called "kinako" (soybeans powder). Kinako has a really dry texture and brings an interesting contrast with the sweet beans jelly. It's also very healthy! It contains lots of protein so it makes this dessert nutritionally well-balanced. The combination of sweet red beans and kinako is often seen in Japanese desserts.
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Typically yokan is made from red bean paste, but they can also be made by using white kidney bean paste called "shiro an (白あん)". Some people prefer this type of yokan as it is milder and milkier. Mixing both the red and the white types makes for a beautiful presentation too!
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Traditionally, people have made mizu yokan using a tude-shaped container. Now some shops sell them in bamboo. Wouldn't this make a great souvenir when you come to Japan!? You push the mizu yokan from one side and then slice it to eat.

Recipe

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It is not difficult to make it at home! Give it a try!
# Ingredients (4 servings)

-150g Sweet red bean paste*
-30g Sugar
-2g Agar
-600ml Water

# Directions

1. Process the red bean paste until it gets smooth.
2. Put water and agar in a pot and boil for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add the liquid to the red bean paste little by little and mix them together.
4. Add sugar and mix well.
5. Strain into a mold and chill it.

*About the paste. If you don't live in Japan, it may be difficult to find the red bean paste, but you can probably find the dried red beans. The paste is not so difficult to make from scratch. You need about the same weight of sugar and dry beans to make it. Just soak your beans overnight and boil them until they are tender. Then, add the sugar and mash until it turns into a paste.

Variations

Feel free to do some variations! As you've seen in the previous section, try adding some chestnuts or using some white kidney bean paste instead of the red bean paste for instance.

Delicious and refreshing summer dessert, mizu yokan!

Check out other Japanese summer desserts from the links below.
haru
I love traveling and eating. My favorites are everything matcha and cheesecakes.

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