Strawberries, tsubuan, ice cream

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There are some food combinations that you think just shouldn't belong together, but do so well. Strawberries with sweet beans? Surely not, you think, until you taste an ichigo daifuku - a strawberry wrapped in some azuki an and thin gyuuhi, a dough made of rice. I've had ichigo daifuku on my mind lately but have been too lazy to make the dumplings. This is a very easy alternative. Arguably it's even better.

You need some tsubuan, sweet azuki beans that have been roughly mashed. I recommend my not-so-sweet tsubuan, which is easy to make in batches; extras can be frozen. Or use storebought--you can find it at Japanese groceries.

You also need some ripe strawberries, which are in season now around here, marinating them in balsamic vinegar.

Put about 2 tablespoons of tsubuan in a bowl, and top with about 4 (or more) spoonfuls of sliced strawberries, with plenty of the syrup that it's in. Top with a little, or a lot, of vanilla ice cream, made with soy milk or cow's milk, whichever you prefer. (In this case I prefer a soymilk ice cream, which seems to fit better.) Let the ice cream melt over everything while you eat.

It's a cool yet quite filling snack for a warm day.

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