Kudzu Manju Dumplings

Kudzu root starch is made from kudzu plant, which belongs to the bean family. The powder thickens when heated, making a great additive for sweets, drinks and many other recipes.

Kudzu Manju Dumplings
Photographed by Kenji Kawaura

Recipe by
Haruko Kanezuka






Calorie count is for a piece.
Excludes time spent resting at room temperature or in refrigerator.


  • 50 g kudzu root starch
  • 200 ml water
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 200 g azuki bean paste (with skins) (store-bought)



In a bowl, combine the kudzu root starch with about 2/3 of the water and mix thoroughly until fully dissolved, then pour into a pot through a strainer. With the remaining 1/3 of the water, dissolve the kudzu root starch that was left in the bowl and pour that into the pot through a strainer as well.


Add the granulated sugar to the pot and stir well, then heat over medium heat. Use a wooden spatula to stir and dissolve the sugar.


When it begins to form transparent clumps, take note. When about 60 % of the total consists of clumps, add the azuki bean paste and mix in thoroughly.


As kudzu root starch is cooked through, it begins to form transparent clumps. When these clumps make up about 60% of the contents of the pot, it's easiest to mix in the azuki bean paste.


Reduce heat to medium-low and stir/knead until the entire contents of the pot becomes transparent.


Use a moistened spoon to drop a ball of the mixture from the pot onto the center of a piece of plastic wrap, about the size of a table tennis ball. Bring the edges of the plastic wrap together and use a string or other item to tie them together, and twist to form the filling into a smooth ball. Let rest at room temperature until set, then let chill in the refrigerator for about 30 min.


If you place kudzu root starch sweets into the refrigerator for too long, they can develop a white cloudiness and harden, so it's best to chill just before eating.


Remove the plastic wrap and serve.