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Okinawan Sweet Bread

Since most Okinawan kitchens lacked ovens until very recently (and many still do), residents tend to steam, rather than bake, traditional desserts. Steaming bread produces a spongy, angel food cake–like texture, which is at once sweet and pleasing. This Okinawan sugar cake, called agarasa, is a famous local specialty that can be enjoyed as a dessert, as a snack, or with morning coffee or tea. It’s traditionally made with Okinawan black sugar, which has a caramel flavor that is unmistakable.

Cook Time:
25 minutes

Okinawan Sweet Bread Recipe


1 cup brown sugar
3⁄4 cup hot water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2⁄3 cup soy milk


In a large bowl, mix brown sugar and hot water until sugar dissolves.
Add flour, baking powder, and soy milk to the dissolved brown sugar.
Mix until you get a crumbly texture.
Spoon the dough into a loaf pan, cupcake tin, or ramekins.
Steam for about 15 minutes in a steamer basket, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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