Most Japanese restaurants in my neighborhood, the 6th, are "fake" ones. Menus mix yakitoris and sushis, and I usually hear employees speaking Chinese, not Japanese. Although I love these restaurants (and Osaka Sushi on rue Mazarine in particular for its wonderful staff and very fresh fish) for my fix of california rolls, I wanted to get something new.
When I was younger, we would always have mochi in the freezer--those delicious green tea or red bean-flavored frozen desserts. With mochi in mind, I walked to Juji-ya on rue Saint-Anne. Ace Mart was closed (it was Monday), and I liked the idea of shopping in a place where people eat bentos right next to you.
My shopping bag consisted of: wasabi, wasabi powder, scallions (ahhh...finally), black sesame powder, and...azuki beans!
OK, no mochi, but the prepared azuki beans made my day. I then decided, on my way home, to make Mizu Yokan with the azuki. Mizu Yokan is a jelly-type dessert made from agar-agar, azuki paste (i.e. red bean paste), and lots of sugar.
After bringing all the ingredients to a boil, I poured them into crème brulée pots since I had them right next to me. Here's what it looked like at first:
And in the fridge:
Next morning, I was late for work so I had to wait all day before discovering how my experiment turned out... and the mizu yokan actually turned out well! The sweet sweet flavor was there, as were the few whole beans trapped in the middle of the jelly. I could finally satisfy my Japanese-inspired sweet tooth.
Here is the recipe I used:
* 3 grams agar agar (or kanten) powder
*2/3 cup water
*2/3 cup cane sugar (brown sugar works too)
*130g can prepared azuki beans--they already have a paste-like consistency (you can make your own, but it's quite complex)
Mix agar agar and water, heat until dissolved, add sugar, wait a little and add azuki beans.
Bring the whole thing to a boil until it becomes a little thicker, and place in a recipient in the fridge overnight. Your yokan is ready!
Juji-ya: 46, rue Saint Anne, 75002 Paris
Ace Mart: 62, rue Saint Anne, 75002 Paris