I’ve been avoiding the oven since the weather warms up. My kitchen feels so empty without the constant output of bread, cookies, and cakes. Just as well because I have other things on my mind. It almost feels strange that I am 100% back into my training routine. Seven weeks and counting! The last two years have been filled with so many injuries and illnesses that I don’t recall any consecutive stretches of training lasting longer than a few weeks. It was always stop and go in hopes of stopping a turning tide. It feels unreal that my effort today may one day transforms to speed on wheels. I am afraid to hope because the disappointment will be crushing…if? when? training is once again out of the question.
Last weekend I looked up my to cook list and kuzumochi caught my attention. A few months ago, I stashed away all the special ingredients for this traditional Japanese summertime delicacy and totally forgot about it. Good thing I remembered because those ingredients are not cheap in North America. It would have been a huge waste if they end up sitting in the dark corners of my pantry for years. Luckily, sourcing the ingredients is the toughest part. The recipe itself is ridiculously easy.
I had kuzumochi in my Asia travels years ago. I enjoyed the distinctive slippery chewy texture that is unlike any other dessert. It appealed to me but then I grew up with Asian dessert which can be an acquired taste to many Western palates. By itself, kuzumochi is quite bland. Kinako (toasted soybean powder) is a traditional accompaniment. As a big fan of kinako, I have to say my homemade kuzumochi is a great delivery vehicle for the nutty ground beans.
I followed Just Hungry’s direction to the letter except scaling back according to the amount of kuzu powder I had in the package. I managed to fill a thin layer in my 7-inch square pan. Once it set and chilled, I sliced the slab into thin noodles and kept them in a bowl of cold water to avoid sticking.
I made a sauce using black sesame paste sweetened with Okinawan black sugar. The paste was too gloopy for the delicate noodles so I thinned it with some water for better consistency. It was jet black and certainly not the most appetizing colour. Good thing the taste made up for its lack of visual appeal. It was not cloyingly sweet, with an undertone of savouriness. Perhaps there was a bit of soy sauce in the ingredient? I did not check the bottle.
To serve, I put tangles of kuzumochi noodles in glass bowls and drizzled generously with the black sesame sauce. I had a big bowl of kinako at the table so each person could sprinkle as much as they wanted on their serving. I practically drowned mine in sauce and kinako because I just adored the mix of nutty taste. This vegan and gluten free Japanese dessert is perhaps an acquired taste but it certainly hit the spot for me. Summer is here to stay.
More kinako treats:
- Kinako Blondie with Nutella Swirl
- Kinako Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Matcha Kinako Marshmallow
- Kinako Nori Sesame Cookies with Miso Buttercream