Ingredient for two for two
tsubuan 7 oz. 200g
water about ½ cup about ½ cup
mochi 2 squares 2 squares

A sort of sweet bean soup with a chunk of chewy mochi to give contrast and substance, zenzai is a distinctively Japanese snack that combines the two basic wagashi ingredients. It is essentially a thicker version of oshiruko.


  1. Prepare a batch of tsubuan. You can also use the easier-to-make recipe for koshian if you omit step three.


  1. Dilute and heat tsubuan.
    In a small sauce pot, combine the tsubuan and water, and stir with a wooden spoon. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot.
  2. Bake mochi.
    While the beans are heating, cut two squares of mochi in half, then bake the four pieces at 350°F (180°C) until they are soft and puffed up.

    Mochi toasting in the oven Fully-puffed mochi

  3. Combine and serve.
    Transfer the hot beans into two serving bowls, add two pieces of mochi to each, and serve immediately.


  • A mochi square in the package Even with the mochi to offset it, zenzai is very sweet, so it is often served with tsukemono (Japanese pickles) or something similarly salty and sour as a palate cleanser.
  • Although pre-packaged mochi usually comes cut into squares of a roughly standard size, if you can’t find that, you can make your own using our recipe (for our recipe, use two or three pieces per bowl and omit baking it).