Yōkan is a popular Japanese dessert made of red bean paste, agar-agar, and sugar. It may also contain chestnuts, persimmons, or figs and the agar-agar may be flavored with green tea. Mizu-yōkan has more water in it and is less firm. It is often chilled and eaten in the summer.
In Japan, beautifully made yōkan is served as a dessert in a kaiseki or a multi course meal. It is also served with a cup of tea as a form of greeting to your stay at a traditional Japanese inn or ryōkan. Yōkan can be purchased wrapped in plastic.
This Yōkan Jelly Dessert was inspired by the yōkan I have tasted in Japan. The top layer is flavored with matcha (green tea powder) while the bottom layer is left clear. Red bean paste is used for the filling.
These were molded using regular ice cube trays.
The appeal of agar-agar is not limited to Asian cuisine. It can be flavored, colored, and molded to suit many different settings. The thing with agar-agar is to get the ratio of agar-agar to water right. Too little powder (or gelatinous seaweed) will result in a soft agar-agar and too much will produce a very firm agar-agar.
The recipe below was shared by a young, talented and aspiring home chef with an Irish heritage. The agar-agar was molded in her grandma’s four leaf clover mold. It has a nice vanilla flavor and is just the right consistency. A very light and refreshing dessert, simple yet elegant.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎