It turns out plain old mochi isn’t the only pairing for shiruko.
Shiruko, a hot azuki (sweet red bean) soup typically served with chewy balls of mochi, is a staple treat for many during Japanese winters. In fact, mochi balls are so standard with this dessert that when our Japanese-language reporter Ibana Takuya saw an instant shiruko with kiritanpo—grilled mochi famous in Akita Prefecture for both eating and (sometimes) sword fighting–he was baffled. Sure, kiritanpo is still mochi, but isn’t the texture of boiled mochi the very heart of shiruko’s comfort? Takuya thought.
Japanese food maker Tsubasa just released its Kiritanpo Cup Soup-Oshiruko in December for 594 yen (US$4), which makes Takuya one of the first to try it out.
It was packaged in what looked like a stylish coffee cup, which actually makes it perfect for sipping the sweet bean broth on the go.
You can microwave the kiritanpo for one minute, or you can add hot water and steam it for five minutes. Takuya chose to microwave it since the instructions recommended that method for the best taste.
First he took out the azuki paste and pre-grilled kiritanpo from inside the cup.
Next he cut a couple of slits into the kiritanpo package and microwaved it for a minute.
Then, he emptied the red bean paste into the provided cup and mixed in 80 milliliters (2.7 ounces) of hot water.
Finally, he stuck the two kiritanpo sticks in there. Bon apetit!
The sight looked foreign to Takuya. Kiritanpo is most often served in a savory nabe hotpot, so it was jarring to see it in shiruko soup. They were both mochi, admittedly, so he wasn’t worried about the taste. It was more of a mental ordeal. After the kiritanpo had some time to soak in the shiruko bath, Takuya dove in for a taste.
It was delicious! Each bite of kiritanpo released more shiruko broth that it had just soaked up. Takuya even dares to claim that it’s better than the old-fashioned boiled mochi. The texture alone was out of this world, and the slight saltiness of the kiritanpo contrasted beautifully with the sweet red bean soup.
Speaking of the beans, Takuya could have sworn they were fresh since they were so fluffy. Nice job, Tsubasa! In conclusion, Takuya will definitely be a repeat buyer of the Kiritanpo Cup Soup – Oshiruko. The 594 yen price isn’t something he can dole out daily, but he’ll sure keep it in mind for special occasions. If you get a chance to try shiruko, try it with both mochi and kiritanpo for yourself to experience the difference.
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]