Amaimono - Japanese Sweets

by Celeste Heiter, Dec 28, 2002 | Destinations: Japan / Tokyo

Japanese cuisine is not widely known for its luscious desserts. Theirs tend to be more dainty and delicate. Many Japanese sweets are made with tiny sweetened red beans called azuki. Fruits in gelatin are another typical after-dinner treat. Many of these traditional sweets can be purchased at a Japanese market.

Green tea ice cream has also become a Western favorite. Green tea ice cream can be purchased at Asian grocery markets, and of course, you can't go wrong with fresh fruits in season, marinated with a little ginger and mirin.

Green Tea Ice Cream (4 servings)

1 pint of vanilla ice cream
2 tbsp powdered green tea
2 tbsp pickled ginger

Thaw the ice cream at room temperature until softened enough to stir. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the powdered green tea. Stir until thoroughly mixed and return to the freezer for several hours. Scoop into small bowls and garnish with a pinch of pickled ginger.

Seasonal Fruits in Sweet Sake (4 servings)

8 large strawberries
1 naval orange
1 bunch red grapes
1 kiwi fruit
1 cup mirin
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 sprig of fresh mint

Wash, peel and cut the fruits into bite-sized pieces. Place in a shallow bowl with the grated ginger and cover with mirin. Allow to marinate for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve in small bowls with a slotted spoon and garnish with mint leaves.