Although #PokeNOM may have officially ended, I still had one more Pokémon entry for you all. In my defense however, the onset of cooler weather and spooky decorations is actually the perfect backdrop for this recipe!
Described as its “hidden specialty,” the Old Gateau is very appropriately found while exploring the creepy and definitely haunted Old Chateau outside of Eterna Forest. While I’m pretty conspicuous when it comes to my love of wordplay, there’s actually much more to this pun on second glance.
As many of you may know, gateau (pronounced: geh-toe) is a french word that means “cake.” However, the image above certainly doesn’t resemble any kind of cake I know of, and that’s because it’s not really a cake at all! This type of inconsistency is found quite often in video games (and their foods!) that are brought to Western audiences, and is a product of the localization process. Localization is the means by which something is adapted to suit different audiences or markets, usually across cultural and linguistic barriers.
Most of the video games I cover in the blog were originally written and programmed in Japanese. Obviously the games are translated so that English speakers such as myself can understand them, but the process doesn’t end there. Many times in games as well as TV shows and movies there will be cultural references or word play that simply would not make sense to a nonnative viewer and thus must be “localized.”
In the case of the Old Gateau, the connection to the Old Chateau makes sense, but these names were completely different in the Japanese version of the game. In the original, the Old Chateau is called もりのようかん (Forest Manor) and the Old Gateau is もりのヨウカン (Forest Yōkan.) Both of these words are pronounced “mori no yōkan” in Japanese and therefore a different, yet equally clever play on words can be understood.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!? you may be typing in all caps. Well, it means that in the original version of the game, the item in question was never a cake to begin with! Instead, it’s in fact a popular Japanese confection called Yōkan. It’s actually a snap to make, so why not give the recipe below a try!
(By the way, if you find this stuff stuff interesting like I do, definitely check out my friend Tomato’s website Legends of Localization to see all sorts of neat facts and trivia!)
I’m basing this recipe off of the one found in Tanoshii Wagashi by Yamashita Masataka and as such, we’ll be starting from scratch. If waiting for beans to soak overnight isn’t your thing, you can substitute the Koshian we will make with store bought red bean paste. Just skip down the the “Mizu Yokan” section of the recipe for now. If you wish to use them, you can find canned red beans in your local asian market along with the powdered Agar (or Kanten) needed for this recipe.
+ Koshian +
|Dry Beans (Adzuki)||500g|
|Baking Soda||1 tsp|
- Large Cook Pot
- Mesh Strainer, or Course Sieve
- Rubber Spatula, or Wooden Spoon
- Large Bowl
- Small Cook Pot
Cover the Adzuki beans with 4 cups of water and leave overnight to soak. When you’re ready to continue the next day, drain and rinse them before moving on.
Place the rinsed beans in a large pot over high heat with just enough water to cover them. Once the water reaches a boil, remove the pot from the heat and carefully drain the beans through a sieve or colander over the sink (be careful, boiling water means really hot steam!)
Pour the beans back in the large pot and repeat step 2 twice more. Once the water is brought to a boil for the third time, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, add 1 tsp of baking soda, and let the beans cook for 1 hour or until one can be easily smushed between your fingers.
Drain and rinse the beans once more and then place them in a coarse sieve above a large bowl. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to pass the beans through the mesh and separate out the skins. (This is probably the most arduous part of the recipe but it really does yield a quality product.)
Next, use cheesecloth to really squeeze as much of the remaining liquid from the bean paste as you can.
Weigh the mostly dry mass of bean paste to determine how much sugar you should add in the next step; the ratio will be 2 parts bean paste to 1 part sugar. For example, if you have 300g of bean paste you’ll be adding 150g of sugar to it.
Place the bean paste along with the appropriate amount of sugar in a small pot over low heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in a pinch of salt and remove from the heat.
Next, we can take our freshly made Koshian (or canned red beans) and create the Yokan itself!
+ Mizu Yokan +
|Water||500g + 2TBSP|
|Agar||1 3/4 tsp (~4g)|
|Koshain (or canned red beans)||300g|
|Salt||pinch (to taste)|
- Medium Pot
- Medium Mixing Bowl
- Baking Pan for Molding (I used a 9×9 square cake pan)
- Parchment Paper
Pour 500g of water into a medium sized pot over high heat. Once warm, whisk in the powdered agar until it’s dissolved and then stir in the sugar.
Add the Koshian to the water and mix thoroughly. Bring this mixture to a boil and then remove it from the heat.
In a separate mixing bowl combine the corn starch and 3 TBSP of water. Once dissolved, add a spoonful or two of the Koshian mixture and stir to combine. Add this mixture back into the original pot over medium heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly.
Let the mixture boil for about 3 minutes before removing it from the heat. This ensures that any unpleasant flavor of the corn starch is cooked out. Stir in a pinch of salt and set aside.
While the Yokan mixture begins to cool, we can line our mold with parchment paper.
After about 10 minutes or cooling in the pot, pour the Yokan mixture into the lined mold and place in the refrigerator to set up. Use a toothpick or small knife to pop any large bubbles that appear on the surface.
Once cool and set , the yokan can be un-molded and cut into any shape you like. I cut rectangles like they appear in game, but any shape would work really. I’ve even seen some nice yokan cut out with cookie cutters! Great job!
Hey! Thanks for reading all the the way to the end! You’re awesome :D! If you haven’t already and are looking for more nerdy food stuff, consider following me on Twitter, Facebook, tumblr and Instagram. I post a lot of work in progress pictures for the blog as well as some stuff from my real job as a pastry chef. If that sounds like something you’d be into, please check out those links above! Anyway, take care everyone and I’ll see you soon with an all new recipe!