Ever walked past a Japanese bakery only to gawk breathlessly at the precision and craftmanship put into those tiny perfect treats? Well, luckily, not all Japanese desserts require such skill. Today, we'll show how to make a simple yet delicious Japanese confection, called Manjū (Manjuu; Manju). We will make them with matcha powder and turn them into an energizing treat.
Manju is a steamed, fluffy bun filled with sweet red beans paste. It looks like a medium-sized pebble: flat at the bottom and round at the top. Not all manju buns are the same. Some folks make them with rice flour, others with wheat or buckwheat flour. Some recipes use eggs, and some don't. What traditional recipes have in common is anko — a paste of red beans and sugar.
As usual, we thought of making the recipe healthier and more diet-friendly. So our Manju are going to be eggless, vegan, and made without any refined sugars. If you want to make them gluten-free, you can borrow the dough from our gluten-free cannoli shells recipe, and replace the cocoa powder with matcha.
To make sugar-free matcha manju, we'll be making the red beans paste ourselves. We'll use date-paste instead of white sugar. You can make it using the traditional adzuki beans or the more common red kidney beans. In the instructions below we'll tell you how to do it with both raw or canned beans. Using canned beans is faster.
Dates are naturally sweet and have a medium-low glycemic index and glycemic load. As we didn't use too many dates, even people with diabetes can enjoy a handful of these manju buns per day without concern. Therefore, these manju are perfectly suited to people on a diet.
Overall, the mix of proteins and matcha and the lack of refined sugars make our manju a healthy and energizing snack. A single bun is rich with the boosting properties of green tea, has zero fats and only 6% RDI of sugar. Plus, this could be your foray into the beautiful world of Japanese patisserie! For now, have fun following along our recipe below and enjoy our sugar-free manju buns.