Karukan: A Regional Speciality from Kagoshima

Karukan: A Regional Speciality from Kagoshima

Here's how to make Karukan, the famous sweet from Kagoshima that uses nagaimo or yamaimo yams. Give it a try -- they're really delicious!


Yamaimo or nagaimo yam (also called Chinese yam)
400 g
300 g
Egg whites
2 eggs worth
Karukan flour (very finely ground rice flour)
500 g
5 tablespoons


1. Place the grated yam into a large bowl and stir until it becomes smooth and runny.
2. Continue to stir until it gains a strong sticky consistency as shown in this photo.
3. Add the egg whites, karukan flour, and water in that order and mix well. If you don't have karukan molds as shown in the photo, try to find something similar.
4. Fill the containers with the batter about 2/3 full. Place some anko (sweet bean paste) on top.
5. Using a chopstick or some other utensil, cover the anko with the batter.
6. It should look like this. The part you see in the photograph will actually become the bottom of the karukan. If it looks lumpy or if the mixture sticks out too much from the top of the container, the kakukan won't look good when they're done, so pay attention to this.
7. Steam for 15-20 minutes. Poke with a toothpick to ensure that they have steamed properly then take them out of the steamer.
8. Let them cool a little bit then use a toothpick to carefully pry them out of the molds. If you let them cool too much they will stick to the molds, so take them out while they are not too hot but not too cool.
9. This one got messed up a little bit. You can totally see the anko. It tastes just as good though!
10. I tried to make one in a Hello Kitty jello cup.

Story Behind this Recipe

This is how my mother taught me how to prepare traditional karukan from my hometown in Kagoshima.