Kinako (Roasted Soybean Flour) & Cookies

A lesser known culinary item greatly loved by Japanese people but quite often dismissed as bland by foreigners is kinako, or roasted soybean flour. It’s a decidedly traditional, niche food and I have rarely seen it used as anything other than an accompaniment to glutinous rice (mochi) and similar desserts. Kinako can be an acquired taste and unless you’ve been raised on the stuff, its nutty, distinctive flavour may be off-putting for some.

Kinako (Roasted Soybean Flour) & Cookies

My mother would every so often get hold of kinako in Perth and we’d joyously chow down on some sticky mochi cakes sprinkled liberally with sweetened kinako. I also recall her using it over regular steamed rice as another type of treat. I know some people enjoy kinako with warm milk (kinako latte?) or simply mixed into hot water and consumed as a healthy beverage. As a kid, I often ate spoonfuls of kinako almost like other kids did Milo except the former is far better for you.

Kinako (Roasted Soybean Flour) & Cookies

Indeed, kinako is a very healthy, gluten-free wheat flour alternative that people can easily adopt into their diet. It’s full of Vitamin B and protein, and works well in many baking recipes although it doesn’t need as much time in the oven. You can easily buy regular soybean flour from health food shops which is less distinctive in taste as the beans are generally not roasted before milling. Sadly, getting hold of Japanese made kinako in Australia can be tricky. I don’t think I’ve seen it readily available in Perth for a few years now.

Fortunately, I was able to put my kinako cravings to rest thanks to my trusty Thermomix. Whole soy beans can be bought aplenty from health food stores and Asian grocers so all one had to do was roast’em and mill’em.

Kinako

1 cup of soy beans
caster sugar as required

Note: One cup of beans will yield enough kinako for general use but if you can see yourself using kinako as a flour replacement, you can roast and mill two or three cups of beans.

To make: Wash soy beans thoroughly and remove husky bits and any beans that are discoloured or broken. Place beans on a dry dish cloth and rub dry by wrapping them up in the cloth. This will remove any excess bits and pieces from the beans. Place beans in TMX bowl and roast gently on 100C, Speed Soft for two minutes or until you can start smelling the roasted beans. Alternatively, you can roast the soy beans on a large frying pan over a medium/high heat, shaking the pan frequently to prevent the beans from burning. Once roasted, mill the beans on Speed 9 or 10 for at least 30 seconds or until you cannot hear any whole beans swishing around. Allow flour to cool down before transferring to a air-tight container.

For kinako, I recommend sifting the flour through a fine sieve to get feather light kinako. Mix about one tablespoon of sugar to every 3 or 4 tablespoons of kinako, or to taste.

If you don’t have pre-cut mochi cakes on hand, you can easily make ohagi which is made of cooked rice (2/3 cup glutinous rice and cup 1/3 regular sushi rice), slightly pounded together. It’s not as sticky but tastes great with kinako :) For those preferring a Western-style treat, try kinako in a basic cookie.

Kinako (Roasted Soybean Flour) & Cookies

Kinako Cookie

(makes about 12)

85g of chilled butter (or vegan substitute)
1/3 brown sugar
1 cup kinako (or regular soy flour)
1 egg (omit if vegan and use water to bind)
2tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

To Make: Pre-heat oven to 170C. Cream butter and sugar well. Add egg and combine well. Add kinako, salt and baking powder and mix into a good stiff dough. Scoop small balls of dough and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Press patterns into cookies before cooling if desired.

Kinako (Roasted Soybean Flour) & Cookies

7 Comments

  1. Megan January 11, 2012 Reply

    OH! yum…. they look perfect – like not overly brown but still with a snap crunchiness to them. I am going to give them a whirl and maybe use a sub for brown sugar
    <3

  2. Kelly February 24, 2012 Reply

    Hi,
    Do you know where I can get some in Perth? Hubby is Japanese and he has run out, he usually drinks it in milk for breakfast but when we went to the Japanese supermarket they don’t stock it any more, so sad! :(
    I’d love to make your cookies too.

    • Monica February 27, 2012 Reply

      Oh nice! I remember Kinako milk :) I have to say it’s been a while since I’ve seen imported Kinako in the shops and Asian grocers don’t tend to stock it.
      It’s actually not that hard to make at home even if you don’t have a Thermomix. Just get some soy beans and gentle roast on a frying pan on low heat or in the oven on a baking try. Once roasted you can smash the beans with a mortar/pestle or try a food processor with strong blades. Use a sieve to separate the bigger bits from the fine powder. Mix with sugar and you’ve got it! Otherwise you can try ringing Miracle Supermarket in Sydney and see if they have any in stock and can send you some.

  3. stefafra November 25, 2013 Reply

    do you think a clean cofee grinder could do the trick?

    • Author
      Moni November 28, 2013 Reply

      Hello there. I’m afraid I don’t think it will do the job completely but you could try and sift the result through a fine mesh sieve to extract as much flour as you can. Otherwise I think it’ll be a little gritty :(

  4. Bronx girl September 22, 2014 Reply

    I made these for a friend’s birthday party, the Mom is Japanese and requested a pastry with kinako, the result was amazing and everyone loved them! I like them for future baking because the sugar content is low yet they are very tasty. i tripled the recipe and it was ok. thanks!!!

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