Re-creating Kyoto-style Chakin Shibori Sweet Potato with Cinnamon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The finished bun!

I'm not sure if you know this, but I'm a huge fan of KyotoFoodie. After seeing beautiful pics of Chakin Shibori sweet potato buns and reading about the history of this traditional Kyoto-style dessert, I had to try my hand at making these. From,
Chakin shibori is a cooking method for forming mashed ingredients in chakin (tea cloth). As shibori means wringing in Japanese, a small amount of mashed satsumaimo is wrapped in thin cloth or plastic wrap and is formed by twisting the cloth or plastic wrap, leaving a patterned surface.
While home in Singapore, I saw a bunch of steamed sweet potatoes lying around after breakfast and impulsively stole them for my own. Armed with everything I needed, I got to work right away, thinking that they would be good for lunch. I liked the uncomplicated use of sweet potatoes in creating a simple yet hearty snack.

Recipe from Kyotofoodie:
2 sweet potatoes 
6 tablespoons sugar
30 grams butter
3 tablespoons milk
2 egg yolks (one for potato mixture one for glaze)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt 

In a nutshell, I got steamed sweet potatoes, mashed them up, then added the ingredients together. Dividing the mixture into small balls, I twisted them with a coffee filter (you should use cheese cloth ideally) and topped off the balls with a smear of egg wash on the tops and baked them for 15 minutes at 400 deg F or 200 deg C. 

Verdict. Being too impulsive might be a bad thing. Thinking that the mashed sweet potatoes are not going to hold up on their own, I added more flour, which caused the buns to be a little too dry. Running out of butter did not help either. The resultant dryness mopped up my egg wash. As shown, there were floury nooks and crannies left out, which was a bummer. My buns are no way as delicate, smooth and elegant as KyotoFoodie's. Taste-wise, my family enjoyed them because milk added teased out the natural sweetness of the potato. Ironically, they approved of the chunkier texture because it reminded them of tau sar pia's (mung bean cookie-cakes) and traditional Chinese tapioca cakes. Go figure. I need to tweak this a little more...


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