Tuesday, June 16, 2009

super simple lima bean kinton

My first attempt at homemade wagashi was "Lima Bean Kinton," a recipe I found in the Sunset Oriental Cook Book when I was still in college. Decades and dozens of house-moves later, this book is still part of my cookbook collection. Kinton is a confection made from any one (or combination) of certain starchy foods. The most familiar version of kinton is made from chestnuts and sweet potatoes, one that is especially popular in the late fall and at New Years. The following recipe using lima beans is straight from the aforementioned cookbook, and is difficult to screw up. It's a good recipe for gaining a bit of confidence.

Lima Bean Kinton:

1 can (1lb) lima beans, undrained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
green food coloring

Remove skins from lima beans and mash beans. (Or press beans through a coarse wire strainer to remove skins.) Place bean pulp and liquid, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan. Stirring often, cook over medium heat until mixture forms a ball and begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 20 minutes. Cool. Force mixture through a wire strainer or food mill. Mix in enough coloring to make a bright green. Roll mixture into 12 small balls. Let dry uncovered at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Then wrap loosely in plastic film and refrigerate until serving time if desired. Makes six servings.

You can also substitute green peas for the lima beans, which results in a simple version of endo-mame kinton (green pea kinton). The accompanying photo shows the green pea version.

By the way, the recipe says to "wrap loosely in plastic film," but if your kinton mixture is stiff enough, you might try twisting the wrap around the paste with enough firmness to shape it like a Hershey's Kiss with grooves pressed into it by the wrinkles in the film. Many wagashi shops form their kinton this way, and the resulting shape (chakin, or "tied-in-a-handkerchief" shape) is a familiar one to kinton fans.