LEARN Learn the basics of Wagashi
As there are no set rules concerning the basic ingredients that must be used in Wagashi-making, various ingredients are used as chosen by the craftsman.
However, ingredients mainly come from vegetable sources such as agricultural products, nuts, and some fruits. With the exception of chicken eggs, animal products were rarely used, but chocolate, cream, butter, etc., are sometimes used depending on the sweets.
The essential ingredients among them are the beans (red beans, green beans, white beans, sweet peas, etc.), used for making “An-bean paste”.
Beans are simmered until they become soft, mixed with sugar and kneaded (tsubuan-sweet bean paste with skin), or softly simmered and kneaded with sugar after removing the skins (koshian-pureed bean paste). It is processed in various ways depending on its use.
Bean paste is said to be “the life of Wagashi” and is so important that the delicate difference of bean paste, made by the selection of beans and the skill of the maker has a major effect on the taste of the finished product. Each shop’s paste has its own unique personality, as the flavor changes slightly depending on the maker.
Other ingredients often used are rice, rice flour (rice ground into flour as it is or ground after cooking), wheat flour, sugar (other than granulated sugar, Japanese unique sugar called caster sugar, Wasanbon sugar, black sugar is used), Kanten-Agar (processed see weed). Kudzu starch (the root of Kudzu ground into flour), potatoes, sesame, green tea, chestnuts, persimmons, plums.