Saturday, March 18, 2017

Polly's Matcha MANJU Adventure with Butternut Squash Filling


Do you ever get inspired by TV drama involving food?   While I was watching this Japanese drama about a young lady who end up working as an apprentice in a Japanese pastry shop in ASAKUSA, Japan - MANGETSUDO (fictitious), I got fascinated by the tiny cute and beautiful life like pastries in the shape of flower, fruits, etc,... filled with sweet fillings.  It is amazing that even for an event, this shop's top pastry chef and assistant would make all MANJU by hand every single day - hundreds of them... well, it's a TV drama,  But you never know... they may be able to do so.  It is hard to believe such a shop would exist today, but that will be a prize find.   It is mostly made by machine today, I am guessing, but regardless, I thought I would like to try making one.  I don't normally eat MANJU because the filling is too sweet to my taste.  But if I make it myself, I thought I could control the sweetness and what to use. 
There is no recipe for this... I just made it up.  
Or follow this one: https://www.thespruce.com/manju-japanese-steamed-cake-with-sweet-red-bean-filling-2031082

Some pastry flours - I believe was one cup, a tablespoon of natural Matcha (green tea powder - not for the smoothie type fake green powder with food color), a bit of salt, a bit of sugar, a 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder, and just enough water to mix and form into a tender dough.
Filling:  Roasted butternut squash.  Strained and cooked with sugar (as much as I liked) until thick paste is formed.
Hold a small wad of the dough about a tablespoon size between palms and round it into a ball, then, squash, then, fingers with thumbs inward, start to stretch the dough in a circular motion. Form into a thin disc and enclose the filling.  In this testing the dough was not rolled out thin enough.  During my testing, about 4 mm or 3 mm is ideal.  I also made the size even smaller for a bite size.
Place the formed Mnaju on pre-cut organic parchment paper squares.
Steam for 10 min.
I used strained butternut squash, sweetened with sugar.  Cooked to evaporate moisture until thick consistency.
I can see that the dough needs to be more thin... may be 3mm would be better.
But the flavor or butternut squash is wonderful.   I now found another replacement to the normal overly sweetened red bean paste that is sold at the grocery stores.   Sure, you could make them fresh yourself, but red beans are something I don't really like to work with.  I watched it on TV that after they boil them, they smash them and strain them, then add sugar and knead them over the heat until moisture is reduced so the red bean paste are in perfect density.   But I like the butternut squash replacement.  It's my new finding.
This one is with Blueberries.   I added a couple of blueberries with butternut squash.
Yum!  the tangy taste of blueberries made the butternut squash even better.

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