Mizu Yokan Recipe

Mizu Yokan (Japanese Red Bean Jelly Dessert). Hisako Tanaka/Moment Open/Getty Images
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 blocks (serves 4)
Ratings (17)

Mizu Yokan is a traditional Japanese dessert, or wagashi, as it is known in Japanese cuisine. Yokan is a general term which refers to this jelly dessert made of red azuki beans, agar, and sugar. The red azuki beans are in the form of tsubuan (smooth red bean paste) or koshian (coarse red bean paste). In other variations of yokan, the red beans are substituted with a white kidney bean paste which is known as shiro-an. Yokan is typically molded into a long rectangular block which is then sliced prior to serving.

Mizu Yokan is a type of yokan which has a higher water content than traditional yokan. It is often chilled and served during the hotter summer months and is quite a refreshing dessert.

There are several flavor varieties of yokan and mizu yokan. Examples of additional ingredients include foods such as chopped chestnuts, sweet potato, and fruits. Another popular flavor addition is green tea or matcha powder.

Recipe Tips

  • Use pre-made koshian (smooth red bean paste) or tsubuan (coarse red bean paste) available in the refrigerated section of Japanese grocery stores or other asian markets.
  • Kanten (agar agar) is sold dried and in shelf stable packages at most Japanese and asian grocery stores.
  • Serve mizu - yokan chilled.

What You'll Need

  • 1 stick dried kanten (agar agar), or 2 teaspoons kanten (vegan gelatin) powder
  • Water for soaking kanten (agar agar)
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 pound (1 1/2 cup) anko (sweet azuki red bean paste)

How to Make It

  1. Prepare the gelatin mixture.
  2. In a large bowl, soak the dried kanten (agar agar) stick in water for one hour or until softened.
  3. Remove kanten from water and squeeze the softened kanten to remove excess water.
  4. Using your hands, tear the kanten into small pieces.
  5. In a medium pan, add the kanten pieces or kanten powder with 1 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Turn down the heat to low. Simmer until the kanten dissolves completely. All the while, make sure to stir the kanten and water.
  1. Next, add sugar and stir well.
  2. Add pre-made sweet red bean paste (anko or koshian). Stir constantly, making sure the bean paste is diluted in the agar agar and water mixture. Continue to simmer until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour the mixture into a shallow rectangular plastic container. Allow it to cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator to chill. The mizu yokan should become firm.
  4. Cut the mizu yokan into small blocks and serve chilled.