Most traditional Japanese sweets use red bean paste (anko in Japanese). To tell you the truth, I am not a big fan of anko. It is made of red azuki beans and sugar, so you really taste red beans when you eat traditional Japanese sweets. If you like red beans, you will love traditional Japanese sweets, and if you don’t like red beans like me, you might not like it. I’ve always preferred cakes, cookies and chocolates to traditional Japanese sweets.
However, there is one Japanese sweet with anko I can really enjoy, which is today’s topic — Ichigo Daifuku. Ichigo Daifuku consists of round mochi (soft rice cake) stuffed with anko and one whole strawberry. It was invented in the 1980s and became very popular. When I first heard about Ichigo Daifuku, I couldn’t imagine the taste. I couldn’t associate anko with strawberry. Then I tried and it just blew my mind. Soft mochi, anko and juicy strawberry make a great combination.
If you like cooking, you can make your own Ichigo Daifuku as well. All you need are a can of red bean paste, shiratamako (glutinous rice flour), sugar, water, cornstarch and strawberry. There are two types of red bean pastes: koshian (beans are mashed completely) and tsubuan (beans are half mashed). Koshian is smoother and I think it suits well with Ichigo Daifuku. Enjoy!