“Wagashi are Japanese cakes, however they are not eaten for dessert – wagashi are a traditional accompaniment to the tea ceremony. There are different kinds of the Japanese confectionery and this is my take on a han-namagashi, a sweet cake which can be made from bean paste. I’ve made them with a chestnut paste, as chestnuts are very popular in Japan in the autumn and winter months. In Japan, they are known as kuri.
These wagashi can be served with matcha or green tea, as the sweetness helps to balance out the bitterness of the tea. This recipe also uses matcha in the outer paste to give them a beautiful bright green colour. And they are filled with candied chestnut, but you can just as easily put a whole roasted chestnut inside instead. Why not try making these for your own tea ceremony with friends, or make them as a gift and present them in a pretty box or tin." Recipe and photo by @tokyopony.
Ingredients for matcha wagashi Serves: 4
Method for matcha wagashi
- Add most of the candied chestnuts to a suribachi (Japanese pestle and mortar) or a mixing bowl and mash them into a smooth paste. Keep back enough candied chestnuts to fill your wagashi.
- Add the sugar and matcha powder to the mashed chestnuts then mix together until everything is creamed. It takes a bit of time to get the right consistency.
- Keep mixing until the ingredients are all combined together into a dough, and you can form balls from it. Make four equal balls using roughly one tablespoon of mixture each.
- Take each ball and flatten it out. Next, roll out a smaller ball of tsubuan sweet red bean paste, and flatten this too. Lay the red bean paste disc on top of the matcha one.
- Place a piece of candied chestnut on to the middle of each matcha and red bean disc, then fold the edges around the candied chestnut piece, to form a ball.
- Finish by dusting each wagashi with kinako or matcha and top with a piece of candied Yuzu peel.