Week 3: Monaka

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Monaka is a traditional Japanese dessert consisting of a sweet jam wrapped in two wafers. The jam is usually made of adzuki beans (also known as red beans), but can also be made of mochi, ice cream, chestnut paste, or sesame seed. The wafers, in the shape of a circle, square or cherry blossom, are made of mochiko flour, sweet rice flour.

As a big fan of mochi, when I first saw packs of mochi monaka in an international supermarket, I immediately wanted to give it a try. The pieces of monaka was individually sealed in translucent plastic wrap.  On top of the circular wafer was an intricate design of a flower. The wafer shell was slightly crispy, softer and puffier than the regular wafer cone for ice cream, which makes it melt in our mouths even without a bite.

The filling was creamy and smooth, with some soft red beans mixed in the paste to balance out the sweetness. In the very center of the filling was sticky, doughy mochi. I enjoyed monaka but wouldn’t recommend eating a lot in one sitting since it is a little sugary. Still, it will make a great occasional snack.