Halloween is upon us in less than a month, you know what that means - candy!!! And there’s no better way for an otaku to celebrate than by making a famous Japanese candy at home. Impress your friends! Impress your family! Impress yourself! This sweet treat is not only a candy that has been in Japan since the 1500s, it’s also one that has made an appearance in quite a few anime.
Because of its prevalence in anime (and probably most famously, in Spirited Away), you’ve probably seen this candy before but maybe you don’t know its name. These little rainbow drops that are often shaped like stars are called Konpeito. They’re actually originally from Portugal, but because of how long they’ve been made in Japan and their seemingly eternal popularity, they’re considered to be a Japanese sweet these days. And today, we are going to learn how to make these sweet little stars ourselves just in time for Halloween!
These Star Candy are Everywhere!
But what about in anime and games? As previously mentioned, Konpeito are likely most famous for their scene in Spirited Away, when the colourful stars are given to the soot sprites who carry them away to their hiding places. Those candies captured the imaginations of many otaku who wanted to try Konpeito for themselves. Konpeito have made appearances in famous anime like Bleach and Sailor Moon, and if you’re old enough, you may remember them being the focus of an entire episode of Hamtaro where they’re called “diamonds of sugar.” Most recently, in the Pokemon Sun and Moon anime adaptation, the Cosmog Nebby’s favourite snack is Konpeito (probably because a Cosmog looks like space!).
Nintendo games also use Konpeito regularly as in-game items. The Star Bits in Super Mario Galaxy, Max Revives in Pokémon, Rock Candy in Super Mario RPG, Gratitude Crystals in the Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Star Fragments in Animal Crossing: New Horizons are all based on Konpeito! While their names have all been changed, the resemblance makes it clear that all of these items were inspired by this famous Japanese sweet.
Konpeito(Japanese Sugar Candy)
What you need:
How to Cook It:
1First, you need to make a sugar syrup. In a pot, bring the sugar and water to a boil until the amount reduces by about half. You should have a clear syrup. Remove this from the heat.
2Next, add a small number of sesame seeds / sugar granules to a small frying pan. Toast them very lightly on low heat.
3Then, add about 1 tsp of the syrup at a time to the centre of the pan. Roll the seeds / sugar granules through the syrup gently with a wooden spoon. The syrup should begin to coat the outside of the seeds / granules. If it’s easy for you to spin your pan, you can also try to roll the seeds / granules through the syrup with this method which is closer to the way Konpeito were traditionally made. Repeat until all of the syrup on the pan is gone.
4Keep repeating Step 3 with patience and watch the Konpeito slowly grow around the seeds / granules! It will take some time, so be patient.
Optional: You can add a few drops of candy flavouring or food colouring to the syrup mix to give the Konpeito a bit more flavour and colour, but this is entirely up to you.
Keep in mind that making Konpeito isn’t easy and takes a lot of time and patience, so don’t give up if it doesn’t turn out the first time! And be careful because sugar gets VERY hot.
Are you ready to try out Konpeito yourself? Have you ever eaten it before? Did you use our recipe and how did it come out? Do you have any other anime foods you would love to see a recipe for? Let us know in the comments!