Uzuki showcase in Kisaragi;February
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February 3rd is called 'Setsubun', by the Japanese lunar calendar
'Setsubun' is the division between winter and spring. February 3rd is the day before the beginning of spring, and February 4th is the beginning of spring. Although it is still cold during February in Kyoto, the spring is coming soon, I believe!
Kyoto specialty, yuba(soy-milk skin), its taste is really mild and delicate just like a gentle spring breeze!
O-zenzai & o-shiruko
Kyoto winters are described as ‘freezing coldness’ or ‘Kyo no sokobie’ in Japanese. I feel very much like a hot, sweet soup, o-zenzai or o-shiruko on such cold nights.
Zenzai and shiruko are kind of soup style sweets, not like the usual soup, azuki (red beans) is used with some sugar for both of them and they are served with toasted mochi (pounded rice cakes). Zenzai looks like a bean soup, shiruko more like a thick potage soup as the simmered red beans are sieved so it has a smooth texture.
Azuki has long been the basic ingredient for traditional Japanese sweets and the combination with mochi rice cake is very basic. In ancient time people believed that azuki was the charm that protected them from disease. Actually azuki has been proven to ease tiredness.
We sometimes ask each other, “Which do you like, o-zenzai or o-shiruko?” as they are quite different, despite the fact that the same ingredients are used in both.
When I’m asked, my answer is “I love both. I can’t choose one because both are delicious!”
Have a bowl and warm you on a freezing cold day!