A general term for the traditional snacks used during the tea ceremony in Japan is Namagashi. This is a type of wagashi. Wagashi, as you may have known, is a popular traditional confectionery which is usually served with tea.
Namagashi are made with flour, eggs, beans and sugar. However, the difference is, Namagashi contains 30% more moisture than wagashi. The main ingredients are fruit jellies and sweetened beans. These are designed to look pretty enough as it reflects a very important ceremony. The design is intended to depict the four seasons in Japan. There are various designs made for each occasion or event. Commonly, namagashi is shaped like a flower or leaf.
Namagashi are also known as fresh perishable sweets. They are said to be the most expensive type of wagashi. As mentioned earlier, they are very delicate and contains high moisture which means that they can perish easily. They are even referred as wet-like confectionery. You have to consume them immediately!
These are the basic ingredients of Namagashi:
- smooth, sweet pastes made from azuki beans
- egg yolk or white beans
- kinton or chestnut paste
- gyuuhi or sticky rice dough
- agar-agar or kanten jelly
- kudzupowder jelly
The making process involves placing the ingredients into a microwavable bowl. If you’re using food coloring, you have to dilute it in a separate bowl. Then, add it into the mixture. Mix it nicely so no lumps will form. Then, cover them and microwave for 2 minutes. Roll the dough, then use a cookie cutter to make shapes. Now, you can create petals!
The basic traditional preparation has never been changed over time. However, various flavors have already been added to suit the taste of modern generation. There are many different types of namagashi. Each type represents a different form of art. Still, namagashi connotes simplicity and health in Japanese tradition.