The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Making Mizu Youkan

Mizu youkan is a traditional Japanese sweet jelly made from kanten (agar-agar) and adzuki beans. There are mizu youkan of other flavours available at the shops, like matcha (green tea) and ume (plum). It is quite yummy. I first tried making it a few months ago back in Perth with gelatin but it didn't really turn out well (it was too floopy, eventhough I used quite a lot less water). Well, back in Perth, I had never tasted mizu youkan before so I guess I was making it 'blindly'.

So I thought I'd try making it again. Even though agar-agar desserts are popular in Malaysian cooking, I have never used agar-agar before. I think they usually come in powder form. The kanten available in Japan comes in the form of block leaves (?).

I used this recipe which I thought was pretty easy to follow. Haha, especially since I could not understand most of the packet instructions in Japanese on how to prepare the kanten leaves. You can opt to buy ready-made anko (sweet bean paste), which would make life a lot easier - but typical me have to try everything from scratch. It was still pretty easy to make, but I think in future I will cook the adzuki beans a little longer (I was trying to avoid it turning into mush, but I think that's probably what I ought to be going for).


1 cup dried adzuki beans, soaked overnight in water
5 cups water
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1 leaf kanten (~7.5g), soaked in water for 1 hour
3 cups water


First I made the anko by simmering the beans in the water until beans were soft-ish, drained the beans, returned it to the pot with the sugar and salt and stirred over medium heat until "you can see the bottom for 10 seconds as you stir". You then have a choice of making smooth koshi-an by chucking the anko in the blender, or just crush it with a wooden spoon to make tsubushi-an. I tried to make a smooth paste, but the beans were still quite firm. Never mind, it gave an interesting texture to the youkan.

Drain, squeeze and cut the kanten into smaller pieces. Add to the 2 cups of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes while stirring until dissolved. Gradually mix in 2 cups of anko and cook over low heat until well mixed (add more sugar or salt to taste if required). Remove from heat and add another cup of water to the mix. Then I basically poured the mix into an 8" by 8" pan and let it set (I wasn't patient enough to keep the stirring until it was lukewarm to ensure a more even consistency). And voila, my first semi-successful try at making mizu youkan (and first time using kanten/agar-agar).

Next, I'll try making some wagashi, especially the mochi ones (made from glutinous rice flour). The following is a photo of a mochi sweet with anko filling.

My next project: Making Mochi


  1. This is a love hate relationship.
    I love the posts you have about food. They look delicious and I want to eat it.
    I hate how I simply cannot have it...

  2. Haha :) I'm glad you're enjoying my entries..