Kuzumochi is a traditional Japanese dessert that dates back to the Edo period which began early in the 17th century. There are actually two types of kuzumochi – one type is made with kudzu (arrowroot) and the other made with kuzu, or fermented wheat starch. The kuzumochi that I use is made from Japanese Arrowroot plants. I was in Nara and had the opportunity to try kuzumochi made from Yamato Honkuzu. Honkuzu in Nara is grown in the mountains of the Yamato region where it is gathered by hand. People known as Yamakata dig up the roots by hand and then they are then collected and dried before being ground into kuzuko (kuzu powder).
Kuzuko is a natural thickener like cornstarch or potato starch, but it remains thick when hot unlike other thickening agents that break up in the presence of heat. Kuzuko can be hardened and cut into noodles (kuzukiri) or served soft as in puddings and desserts. Because water thickened with kuzuko has a light and airy texture and a neutral taste, it is a perfect ingredient used in Japanese sweets (Wagashi) and desserts like pudding and of course, kuzumochi.
Kuzumochi has a very light taste and it is enjoyed more for its texture than its taste. Kuzumochi can be dropped into ice water to form dumplings that can be served in sweet desserts, cut into noodles that can be added into a hot pot, or served soft where it can be used as a glaze for Wagashi or as a dessert.
When served as a dessert, it is traditionally served with Kinako and Kuromitsu. Kinako is soybean flour which is made by grinding up soybeans and then roasting the powder. Yellow soybeans are traditionally used in desserts and produce a yellow flour, of course. These as a wonderful nutty taste to the dessert. Kuromitsu translates to “black sweetener” and is a syrup made from brown sugar. It’s often drizzled over kuzumochi to add a sweet taste. When served this way, Kuromochi is a sweet and nutty dessert that people in Japan just love.
Give this recipe a try. The ingredients are readily available though Amazon or at any Asian grocery store. Let me k ow what you think in the comments section, below.