Memorable manju made at home
WHEN Sachi Fukuda submitted a story called "Manju Memories" to the HMSA magazine "Island Scene," she set off cravings in the minds of many readers.
Her piece recalled buying a Japanese treat called Taiko Manju for a nickel while growing up in Hilo, and how she later learned to make it. Fukuda ended up with a number of requests for the recipe from as far away as West Virginia.
Sandy Okubo was among the inquirers, although she sent her request to me.
Taiko Manju is named for its cylindrical shape, resembling a Japanese drum. It has a bean-paste filling with a shell that's like a pancake in texture.
Fukuda, a cookbook writer -- "Pupus ... Plus" (Bess Press, 2005) was her latest -- printed up sheets of recipes so she could send them off as the requests came in. But she cautions that she uses a special mold. "I believe it is called a dorayaki mold and I can't seem to find any other like it." She's even had friends look for one in Japan.
The cast-iron mold fits over a stovetop burner and has four circular sections, each 2-3/4 inches wide and a little more than a half-inch deep. She fills each section with batter and tops two of them with filling, then flips an unfilled section over a filled one. The two parts fuse together to make a taiko.
With some experimentation you could pull this off using metal rings set on a griddle, or Fukuda says you could make little pancakes and sandwich the filling in between. Same idea, without the drum effect.
To see this treat being made, visit Shirokiya's upstairs food market. They've got a mold that makes eight manju at a time, with a hinge to flip the sections over (the mold isn't for sale, though).
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 can an (sweetened bean paste)
Preheat a mold and brush each section with oil. Combine all ingredients except an.
Pour about 1/8 cup batter into each of the four sections of the mold. When dough begins to bubble, place a heaping teaspoon of an in center of two sections. Loosen edges of plain sections with a fork, then turn those sections over the an-filled sections. Allow heat to seal sections.
Remove from mold and repeat process with remaining batter and filling. Makes about 36 manju.
Nutritional information unavailable.
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