All About Zenzai

by Courtney Thompson

All About Zenzai

Have you ever tried zenzai? It’s a traditional Japanese sweet consisting of shiratama dango, boiled mochi balls, served in a red bean soup. This dessert is often prepared and eaten during winter’s colder months, because the warm soup is not only delicious but also heats up both the body and soul. The red bean soup is slightly sweet and earthy, while the shiratama, mochi rice dumplings, are chewy and springy. The texture of shiratama has a firmer and bouncier chew than the mochi wrapping in daifuku, mochi stuffed with red bean, fruit, or both. Zenzai isn’t just limited to the winter. It can be prepared all year and in the warmer months is served chilled. 

Mochi Zenzai

It’s a pretty simple dessert to make, as it requires a handful of ingredients. Finding a zenzai recipe is just as simple with the Internet offering a variety of easy to follow recipes. But sourcing some of the ingredients can be costly for people without convenient access to a local Japanese supermarket. Shipping ingredients from Japan is usually pretty expensive. Not to worry though, Bokksu Boutique has just added two delicious varieties of instant shiratama zenzai to the variety of Japanese snacks on offer. 

If reading this blog post has you craving shiratama zenzai, check out Choshiya’s Mochi Zenzai. This flavor of zenzai is the top seller from this Kanagawa confectionery maker. The kit includes a sweetened bean paste made of Hokkaido adzuki beans and premade mochi balls. Preparation is a snap, just combine the red bean paste and mochi into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for a few minutes. For cold zenzai, just let it cool down to room temperature and add a few ice cubes or a scoop of ice cream. 

For the matcha lovers, Choshiya also makes a Matcha Mochi Zenzai.  Like the Mochi Zenzai version, the matcha flavor is equally as easy and hassle-free to prepare. Just mix, pop into the microwave to heat up, and enjoy! This version combines matcha, mochi, milk, and white bean paste for a unique and equally tasty spin on the classic zenzai. The white bean paste offers a more delicate lighter flavor than the typical red bean you may be used to. If matcha lattes are your go-to drink and you love the bouncy chew of mochi, you’re going to love this. What’s not to love about this matcha mochi pairing? If you really want to take it to the next level add a scoop of matcha ice cream. 

Whether you want hot zenzai or cold zenzai, matcha or classic, Bokksu makes it easy for you to sample a variety of unique Japanese snacks and sweets that you won’t easily find anywhere else. At Bokksu, we’re always updating the Boutique with new Japanese snacks. This also means that some of the snacks you’ll see today won’t be available in a few months. So, if zenzai intrigues you and you’re hankering for a taste, don’t wait until it’s gone. Give zenzai a try. 

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