Kakigori is shaved ice with flavored syrup. It is very popular during the hot and humid summer in Japan, and there are a lot of pop up Kakigori stores appearing in the season.
Although you can get shaved ice here too, usually as a snow cone in the US, Kakigori is very different from that. Snow cones often use crushed ice or ice shaved in thicker pieces. Japanese shaved ice is very soft and fluffy, and melts in your mouth like newly fallen snow. It doesn’t have much crunchy texture at all. Hawaii also has a version called “shave ice” that is becoming popular in other states as well. It’s based on and very similar to Japanese Kakigori, but some of the flavorings are different.
Kakigori has many kinds of flavored syrups poured on the ice, like strawberry, lemon, melon, and simple syrup (sugar syrup). A lot of the time, Kakigori is a pretty simple affair, ice and syrup of your choice, maybe with condensed milk on top. That’s what you get from street vendors, food courts in shopping malls, and some restaurants like Udon shops and Okonomiyaki restaurants where they serve Kakigori during summer temporarily. On the other hand, it gets more fancy with a lot of toppings when you go to traditional Japanese sweet shops. Matcha syrup and Anko, sweet red beans, are the basic toppings there (called Ujikintoki), but also small mochi, sweet chestnuts, and even Matcha ice cream could be on your Kakigori.
The hardest part to make this dessert is finding a Kakigori machine. If you are lucky to find it at Japanese stores or online, get it, and make this! Kakigori is a fun and cool dessert to please your friends and family in summer!
- Put Matcha powder and sugar in a mixing bowl, pour in boiling water, and stir well until dissolved. Let syrup cool.
- Shave ice into a bowl to make a tall mound of shaved ice, according to the instructions of Kakigori machine.
- Pour 3-4 Tbsp of the Matcha syrup over the ice, put Anko and Dango on top. Serve immediately.