Yokan is one of the most popular Japanese sweets.
It is also known as a dignified confectionery useful for giving to superiors.
Do you know that there are actually different types of yokan?
There are three types of yokan.
In this article, he explains the difference between these three types of yokan: neri-yokan, mizu-yokan and steamed yokan.
Just by reading this article, you may want to taste yokan.
1. Origin and Characteristics of Yokan
The Chinese character for "yokan" is "yum" (sheep) and "kan" is "akamono" (agang), which means "thick soup" originally made of lamb.
This is one of the old Chinese dim sum dishes, which were brought to Japan by Buddhist monks who came to China in the Kamakura period.
At that time, however, Buddhism forbade eating meat and there was not much of a culture of eating sheep in Japan, so the monks made a dish similar to the Chinese yokan by using Azuki trees and kudzu powder.
Neri-Yokan (sweet jelly)
The generic term yokan is divided into three categories: neri-yokan, mizu-yokan and steamed yokan.
The first yokan that comes to mind is neri-yokan.
But the oldest of these three is steamed yokan.
Neriyokan is the oldest of the three, followed by mushi-yokan, neri-yokan and mizu-yokan.
Neri-Yankan is said to have been born in the late Edo period, and in 1862, the long-established shop, which is still in operation today, was established There are records of yokan being made in Japanese confectionery shops.
〇The Characteristics of Neri-Yokan
The ingredients used in neri-yokan are azuki, sugar and agar. The agar is dissolved in water, and the agar is kneaded with Azuki and sugar, hence the name "neri-yokan".
Generally, a large amount of sugar is used and it has a very long shelf life without preservatives.
In some cases, it can be kept for more than one year after manufacture. It is also known as a pole-shaped sweet which is cut into small pieces with a toothpick and eaten with a toothpick using a kuromoji.
Incidentally, Yokan is sometimes counted as one pole, which is derived from this pole-shaped confectionery.
2. Mizuyokan is not limited to summer!
The Past and Present of Mizuyokan
In ancient times, mizuyokan was made with kudzu or wheat flour to resemble steamed yokan, but nowadays, agar is used to make It is said that this agar is the most common ingredients used to make this jelly.
It is said that this agar-based yokan became popular in the Meiji era (1868-1912).
Mizukakan in Summer and Winter
Due to its smooth texture and ease of eating during hot weather, Mizuyokan is often available in stores in summer only.
On the other hand, in the Hokuriku and Kinki regions, led by Fukui Prefecture, there is a culture of eating Mizuyokan in winter.
This Mizuyokan is even lower in sugar content than its predecessor and does not last as long.
It is also lighter in texture and is characterized by a milder taste, as brown sugar is often used.
〇The Characteristics of Mizu-yokan
The ingredients for yokan are almost the same as those for neri-yokan, but the main difference is sugar content and texture.
Mizukan is lower in sugar content than neri-yokan, but its texture is more smooth and jelly-like.
The texture is more smooth, like a jelly, because it contains more water. Because of its high water content, it lasts for less time than neriyokan.
3. Characteristics of Historical Steamed Yokan
As mentioned above, steamed yokan has the longest history among yokan.
Nowadays, not only steamed adzuki-bean jelly but also arranged versions are in vogue.
It is especially famous for chestnut-steamed yokan and imo yokan. Kuri-mushi yokan is often sold only in the fall when the new chestnuts are coming out, and some of them are hard to find these days.
It's gaining in popularity.
Characteristics of Steamed Yokan
While Neri-yokan and mizu-yokan are hardened with agar, steamed yokan is made of wheat flour, kudzu, katakuriko, Jyoushinko.
It is hardened by steaming with flour and other ingredients.
It looks like a neck shaped candy just like Yokan, but its texture is soft and sticky.
Because of its low sugar content, it doesn't keep for a long time.
Three types of yokan
The generic term yokan is used to describe the three types of yokan: neri-yokan, mizu-yokan and steamed yokan.
Neriyokan is generally referred to as yokan, while Mizukan is made of almost the same ingredients as Kanten.
The difference is sugar content and texture.
Steamed yokan is not made of agar and is very different from the other two types in terms of ingredients and manufacturing method.
There is a deep understanding of yokan.
For those who are not fond of Neriyokan, try Mizukan or steamed yokan.
Because of it is different texture and taste, it may change the image of yokan.