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Mizu Yokan 水ようかん

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    Often enjoyed during the summer days, Mizu yokan, a chilled Japanese red bean jelly with chestnut is a traditional sweet in Japan.

    Mizu Yokan, Red Bean Jelly on a plate and a cup of tea.

    Have you tried or seen a Japanese red bean jelly called Yokan (羊羹, ようかん)? This traditional Japanese sweet is usually shaped like a rectangular block and the texture is pretty firm so even when sliced thinly it would stand upright.

    Compared to colorful western style jellies, Yokan might seem a bit dated and rather boring. However it is absolutely one of the best treats when enjoyed with matcha; the sweet taste of azuki and bitter taste of matcha complements each other perfectly.

    Watch How To Make Mizu Yokan (Red Bean Jelly) 水ようかんの作り方

    Mizu yokan with delightful chestnut inside red bean jelly, this easy and chilled Japanese sweet is perfect to enjoy on hot days.

    So.. what is Yokan and Mizu Yokan?

    Yokan is made of just a few simple ingredients; azuki red bean paste, sugar, and kanten (or agar agar – If you never heard of this ingredient, visit this page). Unlike gelatin, kanten is vegan/vegetarian friendly, so everyone can enjoy this jelly.

    There are two types of Yokan. The firmer jelly is Neri Yokan (練ようかん) or simply, Yokan. It includes a higher concentration of kanten (agar) so it’s firmer, and the texture is also thick and heavy.

    Mizu Yokan

    When the proportion of water content is higher, the jelly is called Mizu Yokan (水ようかん), as mizu means “water” in Japanese. Because it doesn’t taste as heavy as Neri Yokan, chilled Mizu Yokan is often enjoyed during the summer.

    My family prefers Mizu Yokan over regular Yokan and today I’m sharing a very easy Mizu Yokan recipe, and I think it’s more enjoyable if you’re new to this traditional Japanese sweets.

    Mizu Yokan on a plate.

    Various Types of Yokan

    Instead of Azuki red beans flavor, some yokan are instead made with chestnuts (Kuri Yokan 栗ようかん), Japanese sweet potatoes (Imo Yokan 芋ようかん), or the combination of white beans and Matcha (Matcha Yokan 抹茶ようかん).

    The regular red bean flavored yokan may also include chestnuts (like how I made them today) and call it Kuri Yokan. I think it’s much prettier to have golden chestnuts inside the jelly and they taste wonderful with red bean flavor.

    How Do I Find Chestnuts When They Are Not In Season?

    Don’t worry, you can get chestnuts all year round. And even better, you don’t have to cook and peel the chestnuts. When you go to a Japanese grocery store, look for Kuri no Kanroni (栗の甘露煮) (see the picture here), which is a jar of chestnuts preserved in syrup.

    French cuisine also uses marron glacé (candied chestnuts) in desserts and I think you can use French chestnuts as well.

    Where to Find Nagashikan?

    Nagashikan (流し缶) is the removable tray that we use to make Yokan. You can find it on Amazon and Rakuten. More details about this special mold, please read my Fruit Jelly recipe post.

    Mizu Yokan on a plate.

    I hope you will enjoy this traditional sweets from Japan! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!

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    4.2 from 5 votes
    Mizu Yokan (Red Bean Jelly) | Easy Japanese Recipes at
    Mizu Yokan
    Prep Time
    20 mins
    Cook Time
    10 mins
    Total Time
    2 hrs 30 mins
    Often enjoyed during the summer days, Mizu yokan, a chilled Japanese red bean jelly with chestnut is a traditional sweet in Japan.
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: agar agar, wagashi
    Servings: 1 mizu yokan (6” x 5.25” x 1.5”)
    Author: Namiko Chen
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Mizu Yokan Ingredients
    2. In a small saucepan, pour 1 ½ cup water and add 1 package (4 g) powdered kanten. Whisk well and bring to a boil.
      Mizu Yokan 1
    3. Once boiling, lower the heat and let powdered kanten dissolve completely, about 2 minutes.
      Mizu Yokan 2_w580
    4. Add red bean paste and dissolve the paste with a silicone spatula.
      Mizu Yokan 3_w580
    5. Once red bean paste has completely dissolved, add salt and remove from the heat to let it cool a bit, about 2-3 minutes.
      Mizu Yokan 4
    6. Pour mixture into the pan until the bottom of the Nagashikan (or similar size mold) is covered, about ¼ inch thickness. Then let it cool at room temperature until the mixture is solidified, about 10 minutes (time varies depending on the temperature of your kitchen).
      Mizu Yokan 5
    7. Once solidified, put the chestnuts on top with equal spacing from each other.
      Mizu Yokan 6
    8. Pour the rest of mixture over so that it will cover the chestnuts. Let it cool on the counter for about 15 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator until it has completely chilled, about 2 hours.
      Mizu Yokan 7_w580
    9. Run a knife around the edge of nagashikan and lift the inner removable tray.
      Mizu Yokan 8_w580
    10. Cut into 3 rectangular shapes and then slice each rectangular piece into ½ to 1 inch thickness. Serve chilled. If it can't be consumed at once, keep it in the refrigerator for 3 days.
      Mizu Yokan 9
    Recipe Notes

    Prepping time does not include time spent for chilling Mizu Yokan.

    Sweetness of red bean paste varies depends on homemade or store-bought brands. Therefore, please adjust your Mizu Yokan with additional sugar.


    Equipment you will need:

    • A nagashikan (6 x 5 x 2 inch or 15 x 13.5 x 4.5 cm) (or similar size mold)

    If you do not use Nagashikan, you might want to use a plastic wrap for easy removable out of the mold later on.


    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


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