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kinako soy flour in a bowl with a small wooden scoop with overlaid text for pinterest

Learn how to make delicious kinako toasted soybean flour right in your kitchen to elevate your desserts and dishes!

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Kinako, a traditional Japanese ingredient made from roasted soybeans, provides a delicious nutty flavor to various dishes and sweet treats. It is commonly used in Japanese cuisine so it is quite easy to find it in supermarkets but homemade is always better! It can be a fresher, healthier alternative to store-bought versions and allows you to tailor it to your preferences. Roasting soybeans at home means you can control the intensity of the flavor so you have your own customized soybean meal. It's also easy to make homemade kinako and can be used in a variety of recipes!

Kinako toasted soybean flour served on a round saucer with a wooden spoonKinako toasted soybean flour served on a round saucer with a wooden spoon

What is Kinako?

Kinako is a traditional Japanese soy-based ingredient. Soy products like soy sauce and tofu are an important part of Japanese cuisine, so it's no surprise that the beans have also been turned into flour. It is obtained by finely grinding toasted soybeans until a golden yellow powder is obtained. The roasting process gives kinako a nutty flavor with a slightly sweet undertone. It has a light golden color and a fine texture similar to regular all-purpose flour. The earthy, nutty taste of kinako powder is comparable to peanuts, and its aroma is reminiscent of toasted nuts or toasted cereal.

In Japan, kinako has been used for centuries to add a nutty sweetness to various dishes and desserts, especially mochi and dango. It pairs well with both savory and sweet dishes so it has multiple uses not only as a garnish for Japanese desserts.

In addition to its delicious flavor, kinako has numerous health benefits that make it even more appetizing. Being derived from soy, it is naturally high in protein and dietary fiber while being low in fat. It also contains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron along with B vitamins (B1 and B2).

The original form of soybean flour is said to have existed as early as the Nara period, but it wasn't until the Edo period that it became popular. It is said that Shizuoka's famous Abekawa Mochi, sprinkled with soybean flour, was even presented to Tokugawa Ieyasu.

ingredients

Kinako soy powder (flour) is made exclusively from yellow soybeans as the sole ingredient. Yellow soybeans are easily found in whole food stores, Asian groceries, or online stores. Sugar and a pinch of salt can also be added to soy flour to make it sweet before using it on desserts and sweet foods.

Dried yellow soybeans on a rectangular shaped bamboo trayDried yellow soybeans on a rectangular shaped bamboo tray

Making Homemade Toasted Soy Flour

Even if it is convenient to buy commercially available soya flour, it's worth doing it yourself. When mass producing soybeans in a factory, the soybeans are roasted at high temperatures using a large rotary roaster, cooled, and then mixed into soybean meal using a large crushing machine. This is the soy flour we usually find in stores. But at home we can use a cast iron skillet/skillet and a blender/food processor.

Toast soybeans in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spatula Toast soybeans in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spatula

1. Roast soybeans in a cast iron skillet.

2. Cool the soybeans.

3. Blend the soybeans and, if necessary, sift the folded soybeans to remove coarse parts. There are two ways to grind roasted soybeans: one is to grind them with the husk on, and the other is to grind them after peeling them. Hulled soybeans have a smoother texture.

Collage of 4 images, roasting soybeans in a cast iron skillet, blending in a blender, passing through a fine sieve and kinako soybean meal in a glass bowlCollage of 4 images, roasting soybeans in a cast iron skillet, blending in a blender, passing through a fine sieve and kinako soybean meal in a glass bowl

Tips for Making Kinako Soybean Flour

Using a blender or food processor means that some coarse soybeans may be mixed in. If you're concerned, sift through a sieve to remove coarse soybeans. This process creates a smooth texture.

How is Kinako flour used?

Kinako is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many ways.

1. Traditional Desserts: Kinako is widely used in Japanese desserts. The most common and popular use of kinako in Japan is as a seasoning for mochi. Chewy rice cakes are often filled with red bean paste and then coated with soybean powder. Combining the soft texture of mochi with the delicate sweetness and nuttiness of kinako creates an irresistible snack. It is also used as a topping for daifuku, yomogi dango, wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets), ohagi and warabi mochi. Pairing with kuromitsu (Japanese black sugar syrup) is very popular because the flavors complement each other perfectly.

three ohagi served on a round platethree ohagi served on a round plate

2. As a topping: Kinako can also be sprinkled on other desserts such as matcha ice cream, pancakes and waffles to add flavor. It can be added to breakfast dishes like yogurt, oatmeal, and French toast in the same way as cinnamon, by sprinkling a little on top along with honey or maple syrup.

3. Baked Goods: Can be incorporated into baked goods such as cookies, breads and muffins to provide flavor and protein. It can also be added to pancake batter rather than simply as a topping.

4. Drinks: Some cafes offer kinako lattes or milkshakes and this is easy to make at home too. Additionally, because kinako is high in protein, it is often added to smoothies.

warabi mochi with kinako soy flour served in a small bowlwarabi mochi with kinako soy flour served in a small bowl

Store Kinako

To ensure the longevity and maximum freshness of kinako powder, proper storage is essential.

Avoid places with high temperatures and high humidity. For this reason the refrigerator is the most suitable. The low temperature and dry environment of the refrigerator can slow down the rate of quality deterioration.

Kinako also absorbs the smell of other foods so be sure to store it carefully. To maintain quality and taste, store in a zip-lock bag or airtight container to prevent odor transfer. You can also store it in the freezer in the same way.

Kinako soybean flour stored in a ziplock bag Kinako soybean flour stored in a ziplock bag

If you love kinako and Japanese desserts, here are some recipes you'll want to try:

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Kinako toasted soybean flour served on a round saucer with a wooden spoonKinako toasted soybean flour served on a round saucer with a wooden spoon

Kinako soy flour

Learn how to make delicious kinako toasted soybean flour right in your kitchen to elevate your desserts and dishes!

Course: condiments

Kitchen: Japanese

Time to cook 15 minutes

Total time 15 minutes

Portions: 1

Calories: 202kcal

Author: Shihoko | Chronicles of Wands

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Instructions

  • Roast the soybeans over low heat in a pan or skillet for about 10 minutes.

  • Turn off the heat and let cool.

  • Place the roasted soybeans in a blender or food processor to blend.

  • Store kinako soy flour in an airtight container.

Nutrition

Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.9G | Protein: 16G | Fat: 10.9G | Saturated fats: 1.5G | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 70mg | Potassium: 632mg | Fiber: 7.6G | Sugar: 14G | Vitamin A: 41UI

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