We made an entire Japanese sweets spread on our own with just one kit!

It’s fall, which means it’s the season for eating delicious, warm anko (red bean paste) and mochi treats. And what better way to enjoy them than to make them at home yourself and eat them fresh?

With Popin Cooking’s Taiyaki and Odango kit, you can make your own Japanese wagashi sweets at home without any specialized equipment. The 300-yen (US$2.85) kit comes with everything you need to make four delicious Japanese treats: chocolate cream taiyaki, strawberry daifuku (a strawberry wrapped in anko and mochi), mitarashi dango (mochi balls on a stick covered in salty-sweet sauce), and, of course, ramune.

Here’s everything that came in the box. All of the food starts off in powder form, which is not entirely unexpected, but still mysterious, since all you have to do is add water to everything to make the sweets. How does one make all four of those different things from powders?

We did find it nice that they actually included just about everything we needed but the microwave oven. The kit even came with a toothpick and a 2-mililiter (0.4 teaspoon) plastic measuring spoon!

Without much delay, we began our cooking experiment. We started with the strawberry daifuku. Both parts simply required us to mix their respective powders with water, including the “strawberry”.

What was surprising was that the two powders reacted completely differently when mixed with water. One powder turned into a smooth liquid, while the other turned out to have the elasticity of rubber. The power of science is amazing!

After mixing the powder with water, the next step was to knead the mochi substance with our hands thirty times. Time to get down and dirty.

Well, not that dirty, we guess.

After that we separated it into four parts–one for the daifuku, and three for the dango. It did look surprisingly mochi-like, despite being made of a mysterious powder and water.

Next we made the taiyaki! It’s not really a traditional taiyaki cake batter, since it’s usually made with eggs and milk, not just water.

After a short spurt in the microwave, though, they came out of the mold looking pretty good!

They smelled very sweet and were much softer and fluffier that typical taiyaki, more like chiffon cake, but they looked pretty tasty either way! Once they were cool, we added the chocolate cream, which looked a bit like anko red bean paste, to the reverse side of one and sandwiched them together.

Then we returned to the daifuku. On the mochi-like substance, we placed a dollop of anko-like chocolate topping, on top of which we placed a strawberry-like jelly…

And then rolled it up, and voila! Daifuku.

The next step was to skewer the dango, using the toothpick…that we had just used to scoop up the strawberry-like creation. It was pretty sticky from that…but oh well. We were the only ones eating this anyway.

The sauce for the mitarashi dango was next, and it looked surprisingly real. While the anko came out a little dark, this sauce–which was also made with powder and water–had the right level of translucence and shine, and the right color.

Lastly, after pouring the mitarashi sauce over the dango, it was time to make the ramune. This, too, of course, was produced from a powder and–you guessed it–water. But it was kind of exciting because once the powder hit the water, it instantly became fizzy.

Finished! We used the provided cardboard tray to arrange everything, since it had each sweet’s place printed on it. It looked pretty good, actually!

Aside from having to knead the mochi with our hands, it was really easy to make this wagashi spread! I know, I know…it’s been said a hundred times already but…it’s really as simple as mixing the powder with water.

But of course the most important thing is whether or not it tastes good, so we had to take a bite out of each one!

The ramune tasted…kind of synthetic. It’s probably the same powder ramune you can buy at the candy shop, the one where you just have to add water to make it into a drink. It’s not bad, but bottled liquid ramune is much better.

The mitarashi dango were surprisingly authentic! The sauce had a the prefect salty-sweet soy sauce flavor that it should have. It’s really impressive that you could make this so easily and from such simple ingredients. They should send this to the astronauts in space!

The strawberry daifuku and taiyaki were pretty heavy on the chocolate flavoring. We were honestly more impressed by the fact that the jelly-like strawberry and the sticky mochi were made the same way but had completely different textures and constitutions.

Overall, we had a great time with Popin Cooking’s “Taiyaki and Odango” kit! It was simple and easy to follow, and everything tasted pretty good, so it has earned the SoraNews24 stamp of approval. You can get it on Amazon (where it’s offered in a five-kit bundle here), or probably any department store, so if you’re interested in trying it out, go for it!

They also have a bunch of other varieties, like fast food, takoyaki, festival food and donuts. Why not try them all and see which ones you like best? And if Japanese food is more what you’re into, then check out these other DIY kits we’ve found for making your own tofu, sake, spicy cod roe, and Japanese pickles.

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