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Manjū (饅頭, まんじゅう) is a popular traditional Japanese confection. There are many varieties of manjū, but most have an outside made from flour, rice powder, kudzu and buckwheat and a filling of anko (red bean paste), usually made from boiled adzuki beans and sugar. Manjū is sometimes made with other fillings like chestnut jam. In Hawaii, one can find Okinawan manjū that are made with a filling of purple sweet potato, butter, milk, sugar and salt, but the most common filling is bean paste of which there are several varieties including koshian, tsubuan, and tsubushian.
|Place of origin||Japan|
|Main ingredients||Flour, rice powder, buckwheat, red bean paste|
Manjū was derived from a type of mochi (蒸餅), or pounded rice cake, that has existed in China for a long time.[when?] It was originally called Mantou in Chinese, but became known as manjū when it came to Japan. In 1341, a Japanese envoy that came back from China brought back mantou with him and started to sell it as nara-manjū. It is said that this was the origin of Japanese manjū. Since then, it has been eaten for nearly 700 years by Japanese people. Now it can be found in many Japanese sweet shops. Its low price is a reason that it is popular.
There are myriad varieties of manjū, some more common than others.
- Matcha (green tea) manjū is one of the most common. In this case, the outside of the manjū has a green tea flavor and is colored green.
- Mizu (water) manjū is traditionally eaten in the summertime and contains a flavored bean filling. The exterior of the mizu manjū is made with kuzu starch, which gives the dough a translucent, jelly-like appearance.
- There are also manjū that have different flavored fillings, such as orange-flavored cream.
- As is the case with many Japanese foods, in some parts of Japan one can find manjū unique to that region, such as the maple leaf-shaped momiji manjū in Hiroshima and Miyajima.
- The regional variety of the Saitama prefecture is called Jumangoku Manju.
Media related to Manjū at Wikimedia Commons