Yokan in Japanese or yang’geng in Chinese is a pastry based on azuki bean paste and gelling agent (agar-agar or gelatin). It is light and refreshing, ideal for a tea-time.
This jelly is rather popular as Japanese treat nowadays, but its origin is Chinese: it is again the Buddhist monks who introduced it in Japan during the XII century.
The name yokan literally means “thick broth of sheep”, but why this name ? Because at first, it was salty and made from sheep’s gelatin. I heard it was in Japan that we turned it into a sweet version.
Yokan or yang’engg was very popular in China (much less so now), especially when foreign (Western) pastry was not yet very present, this jelly was one of the common sweets for children. I used to take it when I was a kid, there was also a variation on Brown bean, but I preferred the red bean.
For 4 persons
- 200 g azuki bean paste (either Chinese or Japanese Red Bean), homemade or commercial
- 200 ml water
- 3 g of agar-agar
- 30 g sugar brown sugar
- a few dried flowers of osmanthus (optional)
The sweet homemade azuki bean paste recipe is below.
- Mix the agar-agar with water, bring the mixture to a boil.
- Remove it of the heat, add the azuki bean paste and the brown sugar. Mix well.
- Put in a mold and let it take in the fridge for a few hours (I left it one night).
- Remove from the mold and cut into thin slices. Water honey according to your taste, taste it.
- You can cut them out with a cookie cutter to get nice shapes.