(Source: TORAYA, "Types of Wagashi")
The azuki paste can also be replaced with ice cream for a delicious Japanese-style ice cream sandwich. Monaka are one of my favourite types of ice cream treats because they are relatively clean to eat and easy to split for sharing (important since my husband and I usually share food).
The standard ice cream monaka has a plain wafer and vanilla ice cream. There are many different brands, but my personal favourite is Lotte's "Monaou." The name combines the words monaka (モナカ) and ou (王=king) and means "Monaka King."
Recently, however, I discovered a Kusa Mochi Azuki Monaka--intriguing as it combined two traditional Japanese sweets (kusa mochi and monaka) with an ice cream twist.
(Mochi is a type of "rice cake" made by pounding sticky rice until it reaches a chewy, dough-like texture. Kusa mochi (草もち literally: "grass/weed mochi") is mochi made with yomogi (Japanese mugwort) which gives the mochi a distinctive green colour and slightly grassy flavour.)
Opening the package I was surprised to see the smooth texture of the wafers; it made it look much more like a traditional (non-ice-cream) monaka.
|Kusa Mochi Azuki Monaka Ice Cream|
|regular (non-ice-cream) monaka|