When it comes to baking and many other food prep tasks, people tend to go to the basic all-purpose flour. Over the years as we have developed into a much more health-conscious society, we’ve begun using healthier types of flour, such as wheat flour, almond flour, coconut flour, oat flour and rye flour. But the Japanese have been using a healthy flour for centuries, and you may wish to start using it too once you realize how versatile and healthy it is. Its name is Kinako, and its main ingredients are soybeans. Yes, that’s right, yet another healthy food that comes from soy!
What Is Kinako?
The process of making Kinako is fairly simple. After soybeans are toasted, they are crushed into a fine powder. Depending upon the brand, some kinako will also have included the toasted skins of the soybeans. However, most brands use toasted soybeans that have had the skins removed.
Its flavor is very similar to peanut butter, slightly sweet and sometimes subtly spicy, and so it’s great for flavoring certain foods. Its primary use is in baking a wide variety of sweet foods, candy and desserts. It can also work as a flavorful topping on ice cream, yogurt and many other foods.
As you might have guessed, it is healthy like all the other soy foods. In fact, you can make a healthy beverage by mixing a spoonful of kinako into milk, soy milk, smoothies or even just plain water. The drinks can help provide ample vitamins and nutrients, as well as improve cholesterol levels.
Other health benefits of kinako include a high amount of isoflavones and dietary fiber, and plenty of plant-based protein. It is also a low-carb alternative to regular flour, making it a good choice for those who need to avoid starchy foods or are on a low-carb diet.
In Japan, people use kinako to add flavor to a variety of foods, and also to thicken thin foods. It often serves as a topping for a variety of sweets, especially the Japanese dessert, mochi. Kinako can also be used to make pancakes, and is popular on buttered toast. It is sometimes used to make quick breads, and can also be an ingredient used to make various cookies. And it is a very common ingredient in many types of Japanese candy.
It also makes a delicious topping for the beautiful raindrop cake, a delicate and dazzling Japanese dessert that is starting to gain popularity in America.
Where to Find Kinako
Most Asian supermarkets should carry kinako, and you might even be able to find it in some health food stores. It is also possible to purchase kinako on our online store!