Manju, Japanese Steamed Cake With Sweet Red Bean Filling

Manju, Japanese Steamed Cake With Sweet Red Bean Filling

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 55 mins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
2022 Calories
6g Fat
444g Carbs
52g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 2022
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2521mg 110%
Total Carbohydrate 444g 161%
Dietary Fiber 22g 78%
Total Sugars 158g
Protein 52g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 1271mg 98%
Iron 20mg 112%
Potassium 1010mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Manju is one variety of the myriad Japanese sweets, or wagashi, available for enjoyment. Manju is a round steamed cake which is typically filled with a sweet red bean filling. It differs from the otherwise popular mochi, or rice cake, which at times also is filled with a sweet red bean filling, in that the manju is made of wheat, rice, or another type of flour and has a cake-like consistency versus the chewy and stickier mochi rice cake which is made of glutinous flours.

Traditional manju filling consists of a sweet red bean filling, known as anko (also referred to as tsubuan) for red bean paste with a coarse texture, or koshian, for red bean paste with a smooth texture. However, manju fillings are not limited to sweet red bean paste and may include fillings made of creams, such as vanilla, chocolate, or even flavored creams such as strawberry, mango, blueberry, or yuzu. Other fillings may include fillings made of sweet chestnut paste or white beans.

While there are several options for different manju fillings, there are also different flavors available for the exterior manju cake. The most popular option is a matcha or green tea flavored cake. Other flavors may depend on the region of Japan from which the manju originates. Almost every region of Japan has its own specific version of manju.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup water

  • 3/4 pound anko or koshian (smooth red bean paste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Manju, Japanese Steamed Cake With Sweet Red Bean Filling ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder together.

    sift flour and baking powder together into a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add sugar and mix well.

    sugar and flour mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Gradually pour water into the flour, constantly stirring to incorporate ingredients.

    dough in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Knead dough well until smooth and pliable.

    dough ball in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Divide dough into 12 pieces. Make round balls and flatten them.

    dough balls, rolled out dough balls

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  7. Put a spoonful of anko filling in center of dough. Wrap anko by stretching dough around and then shape into a round ball. Repeat to make more.

    Put a spoonful of anko filling in center of dough, wrap dough around the filling

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  8. Place each piece on a small sheet of parchment paper.

    Place each piece on a small sheet of parchment paper

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  9. Preheat a steamer on high heat. Place cakes in the steamer, and steam for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

    Manju, Japanese Steamed Cake With Sweet Red Bean Filling, in a steamer

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tips

  • For sweet red bean filling, you can purchase pre-made Anko, or koshian (smooth red bean pasted) from the refrigerated section of Japanese or Asian grocery stores, or in shelf-stable cans.
  • Manju is best enjoyed when eaten immediately after they are made. Most, if refrigerated will not retain their original texture or flavor.
  • A food steamer is typically needed to make manju.​

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