These wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) have an elegant sweetness to them. I tried making Shirotan the Seal (also known as Shirotan) with konashi shiroan (sweet white bean paste) batter, which is easy to make.
Put the shiro-an white bean paste in a bowl, then add sifted flour, mochiko, and sugar.
Mix it all together until the dough is formed.
Break the dough into five portions and steam in a steamer for about 25 minutes. They'll expand once steamed.
Knead the dough all together again in a tightly wrung out wet kitchen towel for about ten minutes. The dough will be hot, so be careful! When it doesn't feel sticky and has a mochi-like consistency, it's ready!
While they're still a little warm, mold into Shiro-tan shapes. For the tail, it'll look best if you press the end down firmly, then cut a part the end with kitchen scissors. They're still missing their faces, though!
Dab a little black sesame paste on a plate, and draw the face with a toothpick. Wow! Doesn't he look so happy to be held?
They're so cute! How am I supposed to eat them...
Look, they're having a meeting... "Watch out, she's going to eat us!"
By the way, these are some actual Shiro-tan stuffed animals. They're about 1 meter long...
Story Behind this Recipe
I came up with this recipe by combining a wagashi recipe on the back of a bag of shiro-an with another wagashi recipe I had been taught earlier. The dough is white, so before I even knew what I was doing I was making it into Shirotan shapes. I actually meant to add food coloring and make it into flowers. You can really do a lot with this dough, so I hope to present different variations in the future.
In Step 5, be sure to shape them before the dough gets cold! I didn't have enough white bean paste this time around, but when you're shaping them, you can also put extra white bean paste inside. If you just use the konashi dough, it'll provide a firmer texture. Of course, it's delicious that way, too. You can add food coloring to the dough to create different and fun effects. If you try this, add the food coloring during Step 4.