Mitsumame is a traditional Japanese dessert where kanten (agar-agar) cubes is served with kuromitsu (sweet black syrup). There are many varieties of mitsumame, such as:
- anmitsu: the deluxe version of mitsumame, with an (bean paste), mochi, shiratama dango, and seasonal fruit slices
- mamekan: mitsumame served with bean only
- coffee mitsumame: mitsumame where the kanten is made of coffee
- cream mitsumame: mitsumame topped with ice cream
Mamekan is the simplest version of mitsumame, and once you can make a mamekan, you can pretty much conjure up the other four varieties without much effort. In this recipe, I use red bean as my mame of choice, but kuromame (sweeten black soy bean) is also a popular choice.
- 8 tablespoons azuki an (red bean paste) (*)
- 1 packet of plain agar-agar (Indonesian: tepung agar-agar)
- water, according to the packet instruction
- sugar, according to the packet instruction
- 3 cups water
- 50 gram sugar
- 50 gram brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mizuame (rice syrup) (**)
- Make the kanten following the packet instruction. I use Swallows Brand 7 gram packet plain agar-agar powder, which requires boiling the agar-agar powder with 900 ml water and 120 gram sugar.
- Pour into a baking pan and let it set at room temperature. Then chill for 1 hour in the fridge. Cut into small ½ inch cubes.
- Place all ingredients in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid is reduced to slightly more than 2 cups.
- Turn off the heat, and let cool at room temperature. Then transfer to a jar and store in the fridge.
- Place some kanten cubes in a serving bowl, top with 1 tablespoon of azuki an, and pour some of the kuromitsu to fill about half of the bowl.
(**)Mizuame is liquid sweetener used in many traditional Japanese desserts/snack and is typically made of rice. You can also use honey if mizuame is not available.