MOST POPULAR JAPANESE DESERTS IN THE US
Today, it's unnecessary to head East to enjoy Asian delicacies! These delicious desserts are central to many restaurant menus. Moreover, in some restaurants, the desserts become a mono-product.
Asian desserts are nothing like the usual sweets you can buy in any store. Japanese sweets amaze with various types, exquisite tastes, and the beauty of presentation. Japanese delicacies are made from plant products: beans, agar-agar, rice, chestnuts, herbs, and even tea.
Desserts can be divided into three categories: traditional, modern — but remade for the Japanese taste — and unusual when some familiar product gives new properties.
We suggest looking at the most popular Japanese sweets, which are actively winning over the dessert segment and have a considerable impact on the U.S. restaurant industry.
Daifuku (literally "big luck") is a confection made up of small round mochi (glutinous rice cakes) with a sweet filling. The most common filling is anko, a sweetened paste from red adzuki beans.
The most common daifuku are white, pale green, or pale pink mochi. They are available in two sizes: about 1.2 inches in diameter or palm-sized. Almost all daifuku are covered with a thin layer of corn or potato starch, which prevents the dessert from sticking to your fingers.
2. MOCHI ICE CREAM
Mochi Ice Cream is deliciously refreshing ice cream inside a rice dough (mochi). Mochi has an unbelievably soft texture and is lightly sweet, which helps balance out the sweetness of the ice cream. Unsurprisingly, this popular Japanese dessert shows up in restaurants and grocery stores.
The mochi wrapped in ice cream has a mild chewy and slightly milky flavor because of the rice. And you can choose the ice cream according to your taste: matcha green tea, strawberry, chocolate, mango, black sesame, vanilla, coffee, and plum wine.
Parfait is a delightful fruit parfait made from delicate layers of biscuit, granola, fresh whipped cream, and ice cream with fresh fruits. In contrast to the American parfait, which is made with yogurt, the Japanese parfait is made with ice cream, fruits, and whipped cream.
Popular fresh fruits in parfait are kiwi, grapefruit, melon, and mango.
Used ingredients are often seasonal, from greenhouse strawberries in December to Okayama peaches in June, and chestnuts in the autumn.
4. CANDIED SWEET POTATOES
Candied Sweet Potatoes (University Potatoes)—candied yams with a crunchy crust. It is a classic Japanese snack that can be enjoyed in the autumn and winter. The potatoes come out crispy on the outside and airy on the inside. They are perfect with a cup of green tea! They are glazed with caramelized syrup to get the desired sweetness.
Sweet potatoes are quartered into bite-sized slices, deep-fried, and then dipped in syrup. The traditional way of making the sweet syrup uses sugar with mirin (rice wine) and soy sauce instead of honey.
5. RED BEAN CAKE
Red Bean Cake is a pie made of soft and fluffy sponge cake filled with sweetened red adzuki beans and topped with vanilla-flavored mascarpone cream or delightful whipped cream.
The traditional filling is sweet red beans. It has a firm texture and a rich, nutty flavor. Red beans are rich in fiber and easy to digest. Also, they add vanilla, chocolate, flavored cream, strawberries, mango, blueberries, yuzu, or sweet chestnut paste to the adzuki filling.
6. BARLEY TEA
Barley tea (mugicha) is a summertime refresher. Barley Tea is not refreshing in the summer heat, although it can be drunk both hot and iced, sweetened or unsweetened. Barley Tea tastes like toasted nuts with a slight bitterness. The flavor can differ depending on how much barley was used, how long, and at what temperature the barley was roasted and the tea was brewed.
The drink is caffeine-free and low in calories (2-5 kcal/portion). Therefore, barley tea can be drunk anytime, even during a diet.
7. BANANA SUSHI
Banana Sushi is a sweet and light dessert. Bananas are most often topped with dark chocolate and crunchy, protein-rich pistachios. The banana filling can also top with cream cheese, almond butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips, melted white chocolate—with chopped pistachios, peanuts, chia seeds, or sesame seeds.
Banana Sushi is a vegan fruit dessert, the perfect sweet treat for kids and adults. The dessert contains antioxidants, vitamins, and light proteins.
8. MISO BUTTER COOKIES
Miso Butter Cookies are butter and miso cookies. These cookies are chewy and crunchy. It has a rich and deep flavor with a slight hint of umami. In combination with dark chocolate, these cookies would make the perfect sweet and savory dessert!
Miso is the cookie's base, a fermented bean paste used in Japanese cooking. It is one of the most important ingredients in Japan. Miso gives the cookies a nice salty and nutty taste.
9. JAPANESE CAKE ROLL
Japanese Cake Roll is an airy bright golden fruit roll. Simple, but elegant and appealing. No one can resist the temptation to try a piece of delicate Cake Roll.
If you were looking for the perfect Asian dessert, this Japanese Cake Roll will live up to your expectations. The light base and minimal amount of sugar make the Japanese Cake Roll especially delicate and not too sweet. The combination of whipped cream and fruit makes for a wonderful flavor of softness, tenderness, creaminess, sweetness, and a super-fresh flavor.
10. RAINDROP CAKE
Raindrop Cake is a jelly dessert made of water and agar that looks like a giant raindrop. When you take a bite of the cake, the dessert dissolves in your mouth like rain. The Raindrop Cake is very delicate and should only hold its shape for about 30 minutes.
The cake itself is pretty tasteless, but it combines with roasted soy flour (kinako) and black sugar syrup (kuromitsu) to add sweetness and texture. The result is a surprisingly refreshing and low-calorie dish.
The classic Dorayaki consists of a sandwich of honey pancakes and a sweet red bean filling, tsubu-an (sweetened and grated adzuki beans). Other toppings are also popular: whipped cream, chocolate cream, sweet potato cream, and chestnut cream.
Dorayaki is perfect for those who have never eaten traditional Asian desserts. A moist, airy pancake with a sweet filling is perfect with warm and slightly bitter Japanese green tea.
12. SOUFFLE PANCAKES
Souffle Pancakes are super airy, souffle-like pancakes. Souffle Pancakes remain tall and fluffy even after you put them on a plate and cut them into portions. When you start cutting the pancakes, you can even hear the sound of air bubbles rising out.
You can enjoy souffle pancakes just like regular pancakes, with fresh whipped cream, fruits, syrups, and different toppings such as chocolate chips and nuts.
Anko is a sweet, chewy red bean paste. It is a staple filling in traditional Japanese confections. The paste is made from adzuki (red beans) and sugar until the beans are soft.
Anko has a thick, soft texture and can be used as a spread, like jam. The flavor is sweet but not like a regular cookie or pie. The nutty flavor of the adzuki beans is so strong that it gives the pasta an earthy flavor on top of the sweetness.
14. CASTELLA CAKE
Castella Cake is a biscuit with a thinner, more compact texture than traditional butter cakes. The fluffy, moist biscuit is traditionally baked in a wooden frame with no top and no bottom to give the cake its special brown, crease-free crust.
A unique feature of the traditional Castella Cake is the crispy crust on the bottom, which results from finely crushed brown sugar crystals settling to the bottom of the pastry. The top is golden brown due to the caramelized glaze or honey.
Purin is caramel and creamy custard pudding. Purin has two layers. One is the custard. Then follows the caramel sauce. The texture and flavor of purin consist of a delicate balance of three ingredients: eggs, sugar, and milk. Eggs are the basis of Purin. The amount of sugar determines the tenderness of the purin. The milk's fat content affects the richness of the purin flavor.
Purin is not too sweet, quite light, and tastes best when cold. The custard pudding is served in individual jars.
16. COFFEE JELLY
Coffee Jelly is a coffee dessert. Coffee Jelly is invigorating, chewy, and creamy, but also gelatinous. The combination of coffee, agar, or kanten and cream makes coffee jelly an unusually simple dessert. Coffee dessert is a refreshing summer treat but can also be enjoyed year-round.
Coffee jelly in moderation is a nutritious and healthy dessert variation. Coffee and gelatin are known for improving cognitive function, so together, they can also be good for your brain.
Dango is a sweet treat in the form of glutinous rice balls. These slightly sweet dumplings are made from sticky varieties of rice flour mixed with uruti (gluten-free) flour.
Dango in its pure form is colorless and not very sweet. The Japanese add natural food colorings and flavorings to make the treats more appealing. Matcha and strawberry powder are popular.
Dango is easily recognized by the nut-sized balls strung on a stick. It is eaten with soy sauce or red bean paste.
18. BLACK SESAME SEED COOKIES
Or Black sesame cookies. Because of their unique combination of sweet and savory flavors, they are great as a dessert with a cup of morning coffee or afternoon tea.
With its rich nutty flavor and texture, black sesame is one of the most popular ingredients. It gives the product a strong nutty flavor and a naturally bright grey color. In addition, black sesame seeds contain many nutrients and antioxidants.
Anmitsu is a cold parfait-like dessert. Anmitsu is a jelly kanten with fruits, dango, adzuki bean paste (an), ice cream, and mitsu (dark brown syrup).
It's a delightful combination of different textures, including hard kanten jelly, sweet fruits, and coarse sweet anko red bean paste. As for the fruits, any combination of these will please you.
Anmitsu is a seasonal sweet that is mainly associated with summer. Anmitsu adds ice cream and small mochi rice dumplings on hot days.
20. COTTON CHEESECAKE
Cotton Cheesecake is a light dessert. It's called a cotton cheesecake because of its delicate and airy texture. Some people compare cheesecake to a sponge because of its porosity. The taste simultaneously resembles both the lightest melting soufflé and the most delicate mousse dessert. This elusive combination of flavors sums up Japanese Cotton Cheesecake. Cotton Cheesecake has an extraordinary curd flavor, but there is less sugar and therefore fewer calories than in traditional cheesecake.
21. HONEY TOAST
This dessert is a hollowed-out bread filled with cubes of bread crumbs and filling. The sides of the loaf are covered with sweet golden honey, which gave it its name, the honey toast box. The outer layer is crispy and the inner texture is fluffy. Combined with the sweet filling, the treat is well-deserved by sweet tooths.
A typical serving of this sweet treat is usually shared between 2-3 people. The calorie count of a typical serving is up to 1400 kcal! However, if you choose Honey Toast with nut and sliced fruits filling, you get a delicious combination to the main ingredients that serve a nutritional purpose.
22. MIZU YOKAN
Mizu Yokan is a traditional Japanese sweets. It is a chilled red bean jelly with chestnut. Mizu Yokan is usually shaped like a rectangle. The texture is quite hard, so the jelly will stand upright even if sliced thinly.
Mizu Yokan is made from simple ingredients: red adzuki bean paste, sugar, and kanten (a jelly-like substance derived from seaweed). As opposed to gelatin, kanten is good for vegetarians.
Compared to colorful Western-style jellies, Yokan can seem rather boring. But it is one of the best treats combined with green matcha tea. The sweet taste of the adzuki and the bitter taste of the tea complement each other perfectly.
Taiyaki is a fish-shaped cookie. The texture of the cookie is crispy around the edges and more chewy and dense closer to the center. Taiyaki is a bit like a waffle or pancake with a sweet paste of adzuki beans inside. The cookies are stuffed with the filling before they are sealed and then baked until golden brown. The perfect taiyaki is completely filling, from head to tail.
Not only traditional, but also modern interpretations of fillings are popular: custard, chocolate, sweet potatoes, etc. There are also more savory toppings like cheese and gyoza (dumplings). And in the summer, taiyaki filled with ice cream is popular.
Japan is a country with a distinctive history and culture. Traditional Asian desserts are fundamentally different from American desserts. Asian sweets are not as harmful to your figure as American sweets, for example. Asian desserts have always been considered some of the healthiest for health and figure.
Since the Japanese pay a lot of attention to food, desserts are a whole philosophy to them. For Japanese confectionery, the look of the dishes is important. Ingredients are cut into attractively shaped pieces, food is beautifully served and dishes or packaging are carefully selected.
Asian sweets are all about finding the right balance and variety. The Japanese have made desserts a separate art form, the development of which is closely linked to the history of tea and ancient rituals. With several methods of making, Japanese sweets are characterized by particularly careful cooking and the natural flavoring of the ingredients. Sweets are idealized even in anime and manga, and entire reviews are made about them, so it's no wonder about the growing popularity of Asian desserts in the U.S.