First, let's make the dough. Add the water to the sugar in a bowl and dissolve it well.
Thoroughly dissolve the sugar completely with a spatula.
Add the baking powder to the cake flour and lightly mix.
Sift the flour into the sugar water. Sifting the flour helps to mix the batter evenly since it is aerated and any lumps are broken up.
Lightly mix as you cut the mixture and avoid kneading the dough.
Then, stop mixing when all the flour is mixed in. If you overmix the dough, the resulting wrapper of the manju will be firm and won’t rise well.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. This process will help to distribute the water throughout the flour evenly.
Next, let's make the manju. Our steamer is not large enough to steam 10 pieces of manju at a time so we divided them into 2 portions.
Measure half of the rested dough and transfer it to a tray covered with plenty of flour. We've accidentally rested this dough for a little longer than 30 minutes.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to keep the remaining dough from drying out. We recommend wrapping the other half of the dough while steaming.
Put a generous amount of flour on your hands to prevent the dough from sticking. Then, turn the dough over.
Dust with flour and stretch the dough into a long oval.
To divide it into equal pieces, mark the dough with a scraper.
Then, cut the dough into 5 pieces.
If the sizes are not even, use a kitchen scale to weigh each piece.
Let's wrap the filling with the dough. Shape the dough piece into a circle slightly less than 5 cm (2") in diameter.
Lightly press the dough with your palms. The dough is very sticky so keep dusting your hands with flour.
Dust off the excess flour with a kitchen brush.
Place the dough with the clean side facing down, and put the anko, red bean paste in the center. Each anko ball weighs 25 g.
Pinch the anko and turn the manju a little at a time while gathering the dough up to the center with your other hand.
Finally, pinch the edges and close the dough.
The thickness of the dough should be relatively thinner at the bottom and thicker at the top. This will help to cook the manju and make it rise evenly.
Cover the steaming plate with silicone coated parchment paper.
If the anko is too soft to wrap with the dough, cover the anko with a paper towel and leave it in the fridge until it becomes firm enough to handle.
Arrange the manju onto the steaming plate.
Next, bring the water in the steamer to a boil. When it reaches a rolling boil, turn off the heat.
Mist the manju with water.
Then, place the steaming plate into the steamer.
Cover with a lid and bring it to a boil again on high heat.
When the steam begins to come out vigorously, cook for a total of 10 minutes from this point. For the first 5 minutes, steam on high heat, and then steam on medium heat for the next 5 minutes.
Now, the manju has been steamed for 10 minutes. Gently lift the lid to keep the drips from dropping and wetting the manju.
They are so fluffy and deliciously steamed.
Now, we will demonstrate how to deep-fry the manju. Start heating the frying oil in a pot on medium-low heat.
When you deep-fry these frozen manju, place them into the pot when the oil is still cold.
This will make the inside very hot even if frozen. When using regular manju, you can place them in the heated oil.
Occasionally stir to brown evenly.
The fluffy texture of the fresh steamed manju will be lost and it becomes firm the next day. If you don't eat all at once, wrap each manju with plastic wrap and freeze them in a freezer bag.
When eating, steam them again or deep-fry in frying oil. When deep-fried, the outer layer becomes crispy and you can enjoy the different texture.
When the surface becomes crispy and thoroughly browned, remove the manju with a mesh strainer.
Place the fried manju onto a cooling rack.
Let's cut the two kinds of manju. Both manju look so delicious!
Enjoy the two different textures.
When re-steaming, we recommend taking your time to heat the manju in plenty of steam, rather than heating them up quickly in the microwave. This will bring back the fluffy and chewy texture of the manju.
If you don't have a steamer, place a small, high bowl in the center of the pan, place a platter on top of it and pour hot water into it.