If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of Japanese recipes but don’t know where to begin, a great place to start is familiarizing yourself with all things kinako.
Kinako is a widely used Japanese flour made by finely grinding soybeans. Though we typically associate soybeans with savory foods and condiments, like tofu or soy sauce, kinako is most often used in desserts as a garnish. There are many other ways to incorporate kinako into your dishes, though, so let’s break them down, shall we?
Sweetened and Unsweetened Kinako Garnish
Sweetened and unsweetened kinako are more alike than they are different. They are both commonly used on mochi and wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweets with intricate designs. Sweetened kinako can be made by mixing equal parts kinako and granulated white sugar with a dash of salt. Sweetened kinako tastes great on just about any kind of wagashi or mochi, especially fruit-based mochi like the Mikan Mochi or the Fujiya Nectar Peach Mochi that can be purchased at the Bokksu Market. Unsweetened kinako, however, is intended to add a complimentary warm and nutty flavor as if it were a peanut butter supplement. Unsweetened kinako pairs best with our Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs: Hokkaido or our Ito Seika Momoyama Wagashi.
Kinako in Baked Goods
Kinako can also be used as a substitute to all-purpose flour to give your baked goods that kinako kick! To do this, you will want to replace ¼ of the total amount of flour needed for the recipe. Kinako has a much stronger flavor than regular flour, due to its high protein content, so it is important to use a minimal amount to keep the flavor from overpowering the dish. Some recommended kinako baked good recipes are:
- French toast
Kinako Ice Cream
What would dessert be without some ice cream? Lucky for us, we don’t have to imagine that, because the Japanese have already figured out how to incorporate kinako into all sorts of ice cream recipes. If you’re interested in making your own kinako ice cream from scratch, here is a super easy recipe you can try at home to make your own quart:
- Whisk together one cup of whole milk, ¾ cups of sugar, six tablespoons of kinako powder, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan
- Pour two cups of heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top
- Warm the kinako mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together 6 large egg yolks. Slowly pour the kinako mixture into the yolk bowl, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan
- Stir mixture constantly over medium heat until it thickens and coats the spatula
- Pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the cream
- Pour the mixture into a blender and puree for thirty seconds
- Chill the mixture in the refrigerator, then freeze in an ice cream maker
Bonus: Kinako in Beverages
Due to its high levels of protein, kinako makes for an awesomely healthy smoothie, shake, or latte. For smoothies and shakes, just add it into the mixture as you would a protein powder. For lattes, follow these quick and easy steps:
- Heat one cup of unsweetened cashew milk and two tablespoons of kinako powder in a saucepan
- Stir until the powder has been properly mixed
- Continue heating until it begins to steam
- Pour into mug
Whether you choose to start your day with a kinako latte, end your day with a kinako cake, or both, you’re bound to have a great day regardless!