Hekoki Manjuu へこきまんじゅう: Fart-inducing cakes

Today I went to a products fair for Nagoya and Mie held at the department store. There was this really tempting looking manjuu from Mie prefecture; it had a batter made with satsuma-imo (Japanese sweet potato). It was called hekoki manjuu へこきまんじゅう.

屁こき (へこき) hekoki: means “breaking wind” or “farting.”

饅頭 (まんじゅう) manjuu is just a type of Japanese steamed bun or cake. Some people romanize it as “manju” with only 1 u.

So these are “cakes” that make you pass gas. Hmmm. I read that sweet potatoes can make you more gassy.

There were many types to choose from but I got the one with cream cheese and cranberry in the middle and it was very delicious. The batter is made from sweet potato which made the texture and taste so yummy. I would really recommend trying these, but maybe not too many at one time…

I didn’t get a picture of the manjuu cake itself since I was too hungry to wait. At the time I was thinking of my stomach and hadn’t planned to write an entry about it. But then I thought that fart-inducing cakes seemed like a pretty interesting/unique food as well as being incredibly oishii 美味しい. I suppose whenever I make it to Mie prefecture, I will have to find their original shop!



Tanegashima recipe: Karaimosen からいもせん

Today we will try something from Tanegashima 種子島, an island off the southern coast of Kagoshima prefecture. This is a continuation of “Island Mama’s homemade cooking” section.

I will introduce karaimo-sen: karaimo からいも is the name for satsuma-imo さつま芋 in Tanegashima, which is a type of sweet potato. Karaimosen からいもせん is the name for the starch that is made from these satsuma-imo (in Japanese, starch is でん粉 denko). From this, they are turned into starchy fried dumplings. A hearty and simple snack or even turn it into a meal, this is a nice dish easily made at home.

There are different ways you can make a traditional dish of Tanegashima; one option is completely from scratch, and the other is using already processed potato starch from the bag at the grocery store. I will introduce both ways, thanks to a website that described the process in Japanese, but I have only made from the powder before. Looks like I will need to do some experimenting in the kitchen soon and try making this from scratch.

First the easy way!

Karaimosen からいもせん:

sweet potato starch, 1 cup
Water, 1.2 cup
Peanut sauce: peanuts, shoyu, vinegar, sugar in equal amounts (or to taste)

Mix the starch and water. Put a little oil in a frying pan and heat, add the starch-water mixture. Cook until transparent (flipping over to cook both sides), let it become a little grilled (I love having some crispy little edges if possible). When all the way cooked, cut into bite sized pieces, top with some peanut sauce and enjoy. You could also use ginger instead of peanuts.

If you want to make something a little fancier, perhaps more of a main dish, you can serve with some some boiled (or maybe even fried if you so desire) vegetables such as kabocha, bamboo shoots, konnyaku, shiitake, or other Asian vegetarian favorites, and instead of peanut sauce, some sort of shoyu and ginger mixture. The article also mentions using it in a sukiyaki or other soup stock sort of dish.


If you find yourself in possession of some satsuma-imo and want to try making this from scratch…

From scratch:

It may be helpful to refer to this website (in Japanese), there are pictures. When I get around to making this, I will take some pictures of the process.

English Instructions:

Take satsuma-imo, clean and peel. Cut into smallish chip-size pieces and add along with water to a blender/juicer (you can hand grate this instead). Strain the liquid into a bowl using a cloth (such as cheesecloth with fine mesh to separate the solids from the liquid). This liquid is what precipitates the starch; this takes a few hours. Once you have the starch, discard the liquid, and dry the starch in the sun. Now it is ready to use.

Previous recipes of “Island Mama’s homemade cooking” news article:

Ojiki-jima recipe: bouburazouse ぼうぶらぞうせ

Yonaguni-jima recipe: Sakuna shiraae サクナの白和え