Picture of the day – Wagashi

wagashi

Wagashi is a traditional Japanese confectionery, high on sugar usually served with tea.  Many Wagashi’s are made from natural plant based ingredient. The wagashi dates back to the 7th century where China introduced confectionery which slowly started to develop in the 17th and 18th century and they were soon introduced to western sweets from Spain and  Portugal. The tea ceremony gradually influenced the evolution of Wagashi. They were used as ones demonstration of hospitality.

There are three main ingredients in Wagashi is the following,

Azuki – Red and white azuki beans –

This is a sweet paste which is made from cooked azuki beans. The beans can either be red or white and a whole variety are grown in Japan using special methods.

Kanten –

This is something that is extracted from a seaweed and used to make the jelly wagashi’s  such as the picture on the right

Wasambonto

This is one of the olders sugars that is made in Japan which is made from hard labour and a unique process. The texture is of fine, smooth and has an elegant taste.

There are certain ways to eat a Wagashi and that it is called the art of the five senses. Appearance, Taste, texture, Aroma and sound. With appearance, a visual Wagashi image should produce nature and Japanese cultural elements such as painting and literature.  Taste should be enjoyed with the taste buds. The Wagashi is created from natural ingredients and is healthy. The Texture of the Wagashi should be fresh, moist and crisp and revealed in a way that each Wagashi produces the freshness and quality. Aroma of the Wagashi should please the guest and not overwhelm and finally the sound. The sound of each name of the Wagashi should be spoken lyrically and should produce images of  nature and poetry.

The following are the different types of Wagashi.

Namagashi: These Wagashi are made reflecting the Japanese nature. these are made daily and fresh. They reflect each season such as an emerging flower buds for  spring, lush greenery for summer, vibrant colors reflect autumn, and bright plum blossoms for cold winters

Higashi: These sweets are prepared using sugar ad starch and pressed into molds.

Manju: This is made by steaming a bun made of yam or flour and filled with paste.

YokanYokan: These are one of the popular Wagashi which is a thick jelly based sweet made from bean paste. The form has been around from the Edo Period. (1603-1868)

Monaka: These are often shaped like cherry blossoms or chrysanthemum flowers. The sweet consists of two crisp wafers made from rice and  has a filling of azuki bean paste.

These sweets look so yummy and delicious. I need to get some from somewhere. They adorable looking. Below is a video from cooking with dog from youtube. She is  awesome!



Pictures Via wehearit
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