What is Kohakutou (琥珀糖)?
Kohakutou is a Japanese sweet created in the Edo period made from sugar, water and agar (Kanten). People often describe it as an edible gem; it has a mesmerising crunchy texture on the outside and a jelly-like texture on the inside.
This sweet is popular throughout the year because each season has its specific flavour, which makes preparing Kohakutou at home so much fun! As we’re in the middle of summer, let’s make some with lemon!
Lemon Kohakutou recipe
- 150g water
- 3g agar agar
- 200g granulated sugar
- Zest and juice of a half unwaxed lemon
- Spread a thin layer of vegetable oil on the mould.
- Place the water and agar into a saucepan and bring to a boil while mixing.
- Once it's boiled, cook for a minute or two.
- Add the sugar and stir well until you see the liquid make a string kind of texture. (the mixture is very hot! Be careful when you are handling it.)
- Turn off the heat, and let it cool for a minute. Add half a lemon’s worth of zest and juice and mix well.
- Pour it into the mould and leave it to cool, then put it in the fridge.
- Once the mixture is set, cut it into your favourite shapes. I cut some of them into squares and broke the rest into small pieces by hand.
- Dry them on a cooling rack or cooking mat in a cool, dry place. It usually takes about five days to a week. Once the Kohakutou are crystalised on the surface, keep them in an airtight container and consume them within two weeks.
When I made Kohakutou for the first time, I struggled with the acidity of the fruits. If you add acid to the agar and cook them together, the mixture won't be able to set.
So if you want to add acidity to your Kohakutou, add it at the end after turning off the heat and let it cool down a little.
We used a fresh lemon this time, but you can also use another kind of citrus fruit such as lime and orange. You can also use your favourite squash or syrup then you will be able to make some colourful Kohakutou.
Since we had a heatwave here in the UK, we put the Kohakutou in an airtight container and froze them. We left them in the freezer for a few days, and they didn’t get very hard, as they were still soft in the middle. We highly recommend trying frozen Kohakutou too!
I hope you enjoyed this Kohaku-tou recipe! It takes a while to dry out, but the steps are simple, and the reward is worth it too. Lovely sweets for any occasion!If you have questions about this recipe or have made Kohakutou, feel free to comment on our Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. If you're not already, subscribe to our email list, so you don’t miss our updates. ;-)