Sweet Potato and Soy Milk Zenzai


  • By
    Takako Gamazawa
  • Time
    10 minutes
Sweet Potato and Soy Milk Zenzai

This is an easy-to-make Japanese dessert that you can whip up in the microwave. Adding soy milk delivers a mellow taste to the zenzai. You can add roasted sesame seeds at the end to bring out a pleasant aroma and enhance its deliciousness.


The Origin and History of Zenzai

Zenzai originated in the Izumo region of Shimane Prefecture, according to the document “Gion Monogatari” from the Edo period. Shinto rituals, called “Kamiarisai,” were initially held in Izumo, where gods are said to gather from all over the country. “Jinzai-mochi,” a rice cake put in red bean soup, was offered to people at these festivals. “Jinzai-mochi” came to be called “zenzai,” with an accent, and it became a major sweet food in Japan.


Add to the Traditional Taste

The recipe uses sweet potato and soy milk to basic zenzai to give it a twist! You can use a microwave oven in this recipe to reduce the time it would take to simmer it in a pot. Sweet potato delivers sweetness, while soy milk adds mellowness and richness when heated. It warms your body the moment you drink it and helps you feel relaxed and calm. We especially recommend it in the colder seasons, like fall and winter.

You can sprinkle sesame seeds as a finishing touch to add aroma and complexity of taste.

Nutrition per Serving
  • Calories
  • Sodium
  • Fat
  • Protein
  • Carbs
  • Fiber
  • Cholesterol


  • 4.2  oz Sweet potato
  • tbsp Water
  • 3.5  oz Red bean paste
  • 200  ml Soy milk
  • a pinch White roasted sesame seeds


Step 1

Cut the sweet potatoes into 1 inch (2cm) pieces and soak in water.

Sweet Potato and Soy Milk Zenzai

Step 2

Put the sweet potatoes and 2 tbsp of water in a heatproof dish, cover with plastic wrap and microwave at 600w for 3 minutes.

Sweet Potato and Soy Milk Zenzai

Step 3

Remove any excess water.
Add the crushed bean paste and soy milk and microwave for 2 minutes.

Sweet Potato and Soy Milk Zenzai

Step 4

Place in a bowl and finish by sprinkling sesame seeds on top.

Sweet Potato and Soy Milk Zenzai


  • If you want to make the consistency thicker, top the with butter while it is still hot for a richer taste.
  • If you don't have butter, cream cheese can also be used as a topping.
Japanese Local Culinary Expert

Takako worked as a cook in a hotel Japanese restaurant and a nursery school food service. Currently, in addition to holding cooking classes in Tokyo, she is also involved in a wide range of activities, including cooking classes for corporate events, instructors, recipe development, column writing, and food education classes at elementary schools. While visiting major production areas around the country and researching local cuisine and food culture, she concentrates on developing recipes that incorporate the charms and essences of local regions.