These oil-free Japanese confections pack a sweet surprise on the inside!
If you don’t know what manju is, you are in for a tasty treat, as this traditional Japanese confection is delicious and relatively easy to make. The word manju is a broad word for a small bun with filling on the inside and can be cooked in many ways such as steamed, pan-fried, or baked. Many are filled with bean pastes, chestnut paste, or jams. The version I am making today is made from anko (red bean paste) and mochi for added texture! How good does this sound?? If you ever visit Japan, you will see many intricate confections like manju all around. Many of them require years of practice in perfecting the art, but this recipe is relatively easy.
The texture of the manju dough is somewhere in between a cake and a cookie. It is soft, but firm, and will be slightly chewy because of the condensed milk. This texture is unique because not many desserts have this texture, so I hope you enjoy this with a drink like a glass of milk, coffee, or tea. These make great gifts because they are small and look really beautiful when packaged. As Valentine’s day is coming up, you may consider making this for someone special!
Adzuki Mochi Manju
yield: 14-16 manju
- 1/2 c. + a little more condensed milk
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 c. flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
For red bean paste (This makes more than needed for the recipe; I made extra for later use. Feel free to halve or quarter the recipe):
- 1 1/2 c. red beans
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 5 c. water
- 1/2 tsp salt
For mochi filling:
- 1/4 c. mochiko
- 5 1/2 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp. sugar
1.) Pour Soaked red beans, sugar, and salt into a pot of the boiling water. Allow to cook until tender.
2.) In a medium bowl, whisk together condensed milk and egg. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Mix until fully incorporated but do not overmix! Cover with a plate or lid and let the dough rest in the fridge.
3.) In a small bowl, mix together the sweet rice flour, sugar, and water. Cover with plastic wrap or a plate and microwave for 1 1/2 min. (This is based on a 900 Watt microwave). Remove from the microwave, mix, and then repeat the process one more time. The mochi dough should be semi-translucent. Mix the mocha dough with a spoon for about 1-2 min, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
4.) When the red beans are done cooking, strain the beans but keep the excess water! This sugar water is very flavorful and can be used to moisten the bean paste or combine with milk for a drink.
5.) Mash the red beans until a paste forms.
6.) Setup you work space with the dough, mochi mixture, and the red bean paste.
7.) Preheat oven to 340 F.
8.) Take about 1 teaspoon or more of red bean paste and flatten it out. Put a 1/2 teaspoon portion of mochi inside it and roll the bean paste into a ball. You may repeat this and then work with the dough later.
9.) After the bean paste/mochi ball is formed, take about a tablespoon of dough and flatten it out into a flat circle with the outer sides being thinner than the inside. You may use a rolling pin or gloves if needed. Place the red bean ball into the dough and fold the outer dough into the middle and pinch the dough up. Roll into a smooth ball. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat for the rest of the manju.
10.) Brush the manju with a yolk-only egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you’d like.
11.) Bake the manju for 25-30 min. Or until fully baked.
12.) Remove the manju from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 min. The inside will be very hot!
Enjoy this manju with a drink of your choice and even consider serving it if you are ever hosting a party! Their in the size of two-bite brownies so they are perfect for a party occasion.
*Nutrition facts are estimates