Food Forum
Vol. 33 No. 4  January 2020




Tokiwa-kan is a Japanese traditional confectionery. Tokiwa refers to the dark green of evergreens like pine or cedar, and thus connotes permanence. Kan refers to classic yokan, a jellied dessert of azuki red bean paste, agar-agar and sugar. This recipe replaces azuki with glutinous yam.


Serves 12

100 kcal Protein 0.6 g Fat 0.1 g (per serving)

  • 1 kanten agar-agar stick, 8 g / 0.3 oz.; or 4 g / scant 1 t kanten powder*
  • 250 g / 9 oz. yamato-imo glutinous yam or naga-imo Chinese yam
  • 480 ml / 2 C hot water
  • 220 g / 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 t matcha powder
  • 1 T water
  • 1 t Kikkoman Light Color Soy Sauce


  1. Break kanten stick in half and soak in a bowl with plenty of water for 30 minutes. Drain the kanten, squeeze out excess water and tear it into small pieces.
  2. Peel and cut the yam into 1 cm- / 0.4 in.-thick slices. Steam for 15 minutes or boil the slices until soft. While still hot, place in a food processor and puree. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the kanten pieces in 480 ml / 2 C water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring continuously until the kanten has completely dissolved. Then add the granulated sugar and stir until it dissolves. Remove from heat and strain the kanten-sugar liquid; pour back into the same pan, heat over medium heat and reduce the liquid by about one-third, stirring continuously.
  4. In a small bowl, use a cha-sen bamboo whisk or a mini whisk to dissolve the matcha powder in 1 T hot water.
  5. Add the dissolved matcha to the yam puree and mix well first using a whisk and then a spatula. To this mixture, add the kanten-sugar liquid little by little, stirring thoroughly. Add soy sauce and mix.
  6. Pour the blended mixture into a mold** and cover. Chill in a refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour***, until set.
  7. When set, run a knife around the edges of the mold to loosen and remove the yam jelly. Cut servings into desired sizes, estimating about two slices per person.

* If using kanten powder: In step 3, heat water and powder together in a saucepan until completely dissolved.
** This recipe uses a typical Japanese-style square mold about 12 cm x 14 cm × 4 cm (5 in. x 5.5 in. x 1.5 in.); however aspic molds can be used as well.
*** Kanten sets at room temperature, but here it is chilled not only to set more quickly, but to enhance the taste.

Recipe by Kikkoman Corporation

1 C (U.S. cup) = approx. 240 ml; 1 T = 15 ml; 1 t = 5 ml