There are so many great things in winter!
Cuddling in the blanket, drinking hot cocoa, the smell of the fireplace, the holiday season…
I really love that season! (when I can stay home 😉)
One of the things you just can’t miss when you come to visit Japan in winter, is my favorite fruit: mikan!
So what is mikan?
Also known in the name satsuma mandarin, the mikan was introduced to Japan by China and became a fundamental part of the Japanese culture. It’s so popular that it’s the number one winter fruit in Japan.
In the Japanese New Year’s celebration (on January 1st), the mikan is placed at the top of the kagami-mochi, a rice-flour cake representing the kami, the gods and goddesses of Shinto.
Why mikan? Well, it used to be another citrus called daidai, but the mikan replaced it. It represents the family wish for many more generations ahead and prosperity.
This year, a friend’s family that lives in Japan’s countryside sent him a box full of mikans. He gave me quite a few of them, and as much as I love eating them, I also like to make things in the kitchen, as you know. That’s how I came up with this recipe:
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serving: About 5
Does it keep?: Around 5 days
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (about 375 F).
- Mix the flour, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
- Combine milk, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Add chocolate chips and…mix again!
- Put aside about 1 tsp of the mikan zest, and add the rest to the bowl. Mix once more.
- Pour the mixture to cupcake molds evenly and bake for about 20 minutes. I baked in a small oven for 17 minutes. Then, let it rest for 10 more minutes in the oven.
- Spread a little mikan zest on top and serve.