A labor of love that is well worth the effort
I wanted to include at least one Japanese recipe in my “5 Orange Dishes from Around the World” series, so I was super happy to get a submission for a traditional Japanese dessert known as mikan daifuku from Keke.
Keke was born and raised in Yamaguchi, Japan, and still lives there. His dish is called mikan daifuku, which translates to orange daifuku in English. Keke says that a better translation might be “soft rice cake.”
Mikan daifuku is a traditional Japanese sweet that consists of a whole peeled orange covered in a layer of red bean paste and then wrapped in mochi. When you cut this dish in half, it looks like either a boiled egg or a beautiful flower, depending on how you look at it. This dish has a super long history in Japan. Mikan daifuku dates back to the Japanese Edo period, which lasted from 1603-1867.
Keke loves this dish because he comes from the Yamaguchi region of Japan, which produces a lot of oranges. So, he grew up eating this dish as a child. Keke loves the complex and interesting flavors of this dish. The orange is tangy, while the red bean paste is sweet, and the mochi adds texture and umami flavor.
A great memory that Keke associates with this dish is when he invited his friends from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines to come to his house and try mikan daifuku. When his friends tried the dish, they all really enjoyed it. This made Keke very happy.
Keke thinks that everyone should try mikan daifuku because it’s a delicious Japanese sweet that is very different from what you might find in other places around the world. In addition, this dish is important to Japanese culture and history.
When I made this dish, I quickly learned that it was very difficult to make. The recipe that I used made it seem like mikan daifuku would be easy to make at home, but it was not. I was supposed to microwave the dough, but every time that I did, the dough became impossible to work with. And, it was difficult to tell which way I put the orange in, so I had a hard time cutting it properly.
However hard it was to make, this dish is still very delicious. I think that even though I got the consistency and texture wrong, the flavors are spot on. The orange and the red bean paste juxtapose each other very nicely. The orange is so juicy and sticky. I certainly love eating this dessert but be warned that it is a challenge to make.
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