Kimika Soko Takechi
Larry Sokyo Tiscornia
- nagaimo (long mountain yam) 85gm (3oz)
- granulated sugar 140gm (4.9oz)
- joshinko [komenoko] rice flour 100gm (3.5oz)
- water - approx. 2T - 4T
- baking powder 3/4tsp
- dried yomogi (mugwort) approx. 1/2 loose Tbl.
- optional flavor or color
- Peel the long mountain yam and remove any brown spots that remain.
- Grate the yam into a large bowl using a fine grater. Using your fingers, mix the sugar into the grated yam in small increments, blending well until the sugar is dissolved and no lumps remain.
- Mix in 1T of the water that has been mixed with the dried yomogi and allowed to reconstitute for a couple of minutes. Add 1T more water then add the sifted rice flour and baking powder, mixing until the flour is well blended and no lumps remain. Mix until the mixture is like a smooth pancake batter. More water can be added if necessary. (The amount of water may vary depending on the temperature, location, etc. Be careful that the batter doesn't become too thin or watery.
- If using flavor or color they can be added at this point. Various colors such as pink in the spring and green in the summer can be used to evoke a feeling of the season:
- Japanese matcha, powdered green tea, can be used for a natural green color (For this recipe 1 1/2tsp matcha can be mixed with the rice flour before mixing with the yam).
- Japanese umeshu, plum wine, can be used as a flavoring during the spring and summer.
- Daitokuji natto, salty fermented black beans, can be cut into small pieces and mixed in the batter.
- Lightly roasted white or black sesame seeds can also be mixed in the batter.
- Finely chopped crystalized ginger or grated orange zest can also be used.
- Prepare a steamer placing a damp cotton cloth on the steamer surface.
- Pour the batter into a 12cm X 15cm (5" X 6") parchment paper lined nagashikan, stainless steel lined mold, (with the liner removed) or another suitable parchment lined container.
- Place the mold in the steamer and place a cotton towel under the lid to absorb excess moisture. Steam over medium high heat for approx. 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out fairly dry. Keep the lid ajar for the first 5 mintues, or so, to prevent cracking. (The steaming time may also vary depending on the size and thickness of the mold.)
- Remove the mold from the steamer. Wring excess moisture from the cloth that is in the steamer and return it to the steamer surface.
- Carefully remove the cake from the mold by lifting it with the parchment paper. Without removing the parchment paper return the cake to the steamer and steam over medium high heat for about 10 minutes longer. When ready, remove from the steamer and let the cake cool on a wire rack.
- When cool, carefully remove the parchment paper and cut into serving size pieces. For cutting, either a taut piece of wire or thick nylon fishing line, works best. A knife tends to pull and smash the cake. If using a knife the finished sweet can be turned upside down and cut from the bottom side for a nicer look on the top.
This recipe makes about 8 - 10 smaller chanoyu sweets. This recipe can be doubled and a larger nagashikan can also be used.