[Anime Culture Monday] Anime Recipes! Mochi/Dango (Clannad) & Zenzai/Sweet red bean soup (Koufuku Graffiti)

Hey everyone! Welcome back to “eat like your anime faves,” a series where I teach you just how to eat like characters do in anime. That’s right; you learn how to cook real Japanese food from anime. I’m back again to give you more of what you love!

Now that we are approaching Christmas and New Year's, starting this week we will be taking a look at Osechi food or food for New Year’s celebrations. In the west, Christmas is the big celebration where we get our families together, binge on food that we don’t cook often, and then binge again, but this time it’s on TV programs or movies. New Year's, while we do celebrate it, doesn’t have as much of a meaning. Sure we celebrate with friends and maybe do fireworks and a house party, but that’s really all that we as westerners tend to do.

In Japan it’s the opposite. While Christmas has been gaining steam in Japan, and trust, it is gaining steam, it’s different here. As soon as Halloween is over, the Christmas decorations are brought out. (Two months of Christmas music? shoot me.) However there is no major significance except for it is a lovers holiday that you are meant to spend with your boyfriend/girlfriend. New Year is the big deal. Stores will have massive blowout sales, akin to our Christmas sales and black Friday deals. Japanese people order anywhere from 1-3 days worth of expensive holiday food, and don’t leave their house. They then eat this osechi food with their families while watching New Year's TV specials and give their children gifts.

It would not be a stretch to say that a Western Christmas is the equivalent of Japanese New Year's and vice versa. However, the food couldn’t be more different. Special rice, sweetened candied chestnuts, very fresh fish, and an assortment of vegetables and fruit are only some of it. This is not a holiday to be outdone so if you ever have the chance to be in Japan during New Year's, it is an experience par none. Today we are looking at two different recipes that involve Mochi, but the best part is that you can enjoy one as is, or you can make a delicious dessert soup with it.

1. Dango (Mochi) from CLANNAD

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last ten Year's, you have at least heard of CLANNAD or seen it. If you haven’t, then you need to! The ending song Dango Daikazoku (The Big Dango Family) is actually what features this delicious Japanese sweet. Mochi in the form of Dango have been around for Year's and are eaten year-round. Now they are slightly different. Mochi takes hours to make where you have to use special rice, take it outside, and beat it with a giant mallet until it turns into a glutinous paste and THEN you can start to make the Mochi itself. We are pretty sure you don’t have the mallet and bowl, plus the second person to help stir it, just lying around, so we will be rolling out Dango this week! Dango is made using a special flour, so while it seems to cut corners, it’s still the same delicious dessert!
ELFY Clannad - mochi
Doesn’t that look delicious?

What you will need:(Serves as many as you want.)

Mochiko (Sweet Rice flour/Mochi Flour)
((You can find this at any store including Walmart!)
1 cup

water
180ml (3/4 cup)

sugar
400ml (2 cups)

Kinako (Soy flour)
dust with.

Optional items that you can fill the dango (mochi) with:

  • Sweet red bean paste
  • Green tea ice cream
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Steamed sweet potato
  • Anything you’d like!

ELFY Clannad - mochi 3

How to Cook It:

  1. 1

    Combine the mochiko and water in a heatproof bowl and mix it until it is all mixed well. However, don’t pour the water all in at once. Pour 1 tbsp of water in at a time until it reaches a thick consistency.
  2. 2

    Steam the Mochiko mixture for about 20 minutes in a steamer. If you don’t have one, pour a little water in the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and poke holes in the top. Microwave for about 2-5 minutes checking every ten seconds. You do not want it to dry out!
  3. 3

    Once the dough looks like the consistency of cottage cheese but slightly thicker, it’s done.
  4. 4

    Put the mochi into a frying pan on medium to medium-low heat, and then pour 1/3 of the sugar in. Mix until all the sugar has dissolved and then add in the next 1/3 and repeat until all the sugar has dissolved.
  5. 5

    NOTE: Constantly stir the mixture. If you don’t it will BURN.
  6. 6

    Once it’s all gone, turn off the heat and transfer the mochi to a cookie tray or countertop lined with saran wrap/cling wrap.
  7. 7

    Break apart the mochi into decent sized pieces.
  8. 8

    If you have chosen to fill it with something, now is the time to drop small bits of it on the mochi pieces that you have prepared and wrap up the mocha around it.
  9. 9

    If you use ice cream, put it in the freezer to keep it frozen!
  10. 10

    Dig in!

(Note: If you are underage, or new to cooking, be sure to let your parent/guardian know what you are doing. We don’t want you to get hurt!)

The image below shows chocolate rolled strawberry mochi!

Yum!

ELFY Clannad - mochi 2

2. Zenzai from Koufuku Graffiti

This show has so many good ideas in it!! Zenzai soup is another soup that is enjoyed in the winter time but also at new Year's. Zenzai involves making a sort of sweet red bean soup and then lightly pan-frying some mochi squares and dropping them in! It’s delicious. This is a dessert soup, (It sounds so weird to say that) that will warm you right down to the core during this cold season! For this one, you can use the mocha that you made above but you need to make sure that they are plain ones with nothing wrapped up in them. If you have something inside, they can come unraveled and then it will leak out! I recommend buying the rectangular Mochi rice cakes and using those for the soup. The subtle sweetness is not for everyone, so if you do find that the soup is not sweet enough for your liking, you can always add more to it, but just don’t overdo it! You don’t want to lose the original flavor.
ELFY Kofuku Graffiti - zenzai 1

What you will need: (Note: Serves two people.)

Tsubu-an (sweet red bean paste)
200 grams (1 cup)

water
200 ml

rice cakes
2 Mochi


ELFY Kofuku Graffiti - zenzai 3

How to Cook It:

  1. 1

    Combine the tsubuan and the water into a pot and turn on the heat. NOTE: do not bring this to a boil.
  2. 2

    While the items in step one are heating up, place your mocha cakes either into your toaster oven and brown them, or place them into a small frying pan and move them around and flip them constantly.
  3. 3

    If you do not do this, they will BURN. It is normal for the mocha rice cakes to become sticky as they begin to heat up.
  4. 4

    Once the tsubuan and water mixture has been stirred and mixed well turn the heat off.
  5. 5

    Transfer the soup to bowls and place the mochi on top of the soup and dig in with a spoon.
  6. 6

    That’s it!

(Note: If you are underage, or new to cooking, be sure to let your parent/guardian know what you are doing. We don’t want you to get hurt!)

If you did everything right, it should come out looking something like this!

Yum!

ELFY Kofuku Graffiti - zenzai 2
Zenzai is a favorite dessert to have when those cold, winter evenings start to set in as well as during the New Year's. It is akin to having hot cider during the holidays. I hope you enjoy it! Here we are again at the end of this week’s “eat like your faves” article! How are you enjoying it so far? I have tried to be diverse in what I present to you, but please tell me if I’m forgetting something or if there is a recipe you want done! From cakes, cookies, pasta, to traditional Japanese food and everything in between, I really hope you are enjoying this. I also want to know if you are trying to cook any of these! Please tell me and give me feedback! Till next time,

Nagareboshi

Editor/Translator

Author: Nagareboshi

American by birth; international by choice. I am trying to bring attention to one of my favorite causes; me. I translate by day and write by night. Aspiring polyglot. My dream would be to be the personal translator for Amuro Namie. Other than that, my hobbies include languages, weightlifting, sleeping, karaoke, GOOD coffee and music. When I’m not doing any of the above, I am most likely laughing hysterically at Willam Belli videos or EV farming. I ain’t gunna Rupologize for it neither. Waifu are Shirai Kuroko & Euaerin.

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