If you are thinking of treating your kids’ taste buds to something new and exciting, try making a Japanese dessert. When you think of Japanese food, the default dishes that come to mind are probably ramen and sushi, but there is more to Japanese cuisine than these savory treats. Desserts and sweets are big in the Land of the Rising Sun.
One of the distinct characteristics of Japanese sweets is that they tend to be very light and delicate. In terms of sweetness, Japanese treats are not as intense as popular Western desserts. Also, Japanese people are particular about beauty and balance, and this extends to how they present their food as well. Here are some easy but delicious Japanese treats you can make at home with your family.
Fruit parfaits are popular in Japan. In fact, many cafés in the country have this frosty treat in their menu. As the name suggests, this treat consists of an ice cream sundae with a careful selection of seasonal fruits. In Japan, expensive fruit shops usually have their own cafés so they can serve fruit-based desserts and snacks using their own fresh supply.
Well, you don’t have to travel all the way to the Land of the Rising Sun to get a taste of their fruit parfaits. This is an easy dessert to prepare, so you can quickly make it at home. All you need are vanilla ice cream and fresh fruits in season; popular choices include strawberries, apples, bananas, kiwis, oranges, cherries, and peaches. You can also whip some heavy cream to put on top of the ice cream, and for an added crunch, sprinkle some cornflakes.
Mochi is a staple of Japanese food culture. You’ll come across it in some form or another in many Japanese cafés and restaurants. According to ancient lore, mochi can be enjoyed only by the gods, but today it is enjoyed all year round by both locals and tourists, especially in many of the important festivals, such as the New Year and girls’ festivals.
Mochi is a traditional Japanese sticky rice cake made by boiling sweet rice. After boiling, it is then turned it into a paste by mashing and pounding. The paste can then be molded into different shapes. Mochi can be served on its own or mixed with other ingredients to create a more complex concoction. For example, mochi ice cream is created by enrobing ice cream balls with mochi. To reduce their stickiness, the balls are then dusted with mochicko, or powdered sweet rice
Mangoes are not native to Japan, and when the tropical fruit became available in the country in the 2000s, it quickly became a premium, high-end fruit. It was only a matter of time before mango purin became popular in the region, a treat that can be easily purchased in cake shops, supermarkets, and convenience stores. Sometimes called mango pudding, mango purin is made of gelatin and is served chilled. Because fresh mangoes are expensive in Japan, many shops usually make mango purin using packaged mango puree rather than the fruit.
Regardless of whether you choose to make purin using fresh mangoes or packaged puree, your kids will love snacking on this cool treat, especially during hot summers.
Matcha Chocolate Truffle
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Homemade chocolates are common in Japan and are usually given away as gifts during special occasions. Your kids have probably tasted chocolate truffles, but you can add an exciting and fresh twist to it by adding matcha. A popular ingredient and flavor in Japan, matcha is a type of powdered green tea that is used in traditional tea ceremonies in Japan. It has achieved popularity in the West, too, and you have probably come across matcha flavors in coffee, ice cream, and cakes. On its own, matcha can taste pretty strong and bitter, but it can become a delicious and mellow treat when mixed with sugar and dairy.
Matcha chocolate truffle is a sweet and light treat for chocolate lovers, and it is not as hard to make as regular chocolate because you only use ganache chocolate and heavy cream and do not need to do tempering. Matcha is available in many Japanese specialty stores and supermarkets.