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- Main lore areas
All over the prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Red beans, wheat flour
- History/origin/related events
In Gunma, wheat is cultivated from the fall after the rice harvest is over, and a double cropping system is widely practiced. As a result, a flour-eating culture has taken root, and wheat dishes are sometimes a staple food, especially in areas where rice production is low. Ama-neji" is a local dish born from this flour-food culture. It is a snack-like dish made by boiling sweet red bean soup stock and adding bite-sized pieces of dough made from wheat flour kneaded with water. In the old days, when sugar was precious, it was also served as a dish for entertaining guests. It is mainly eaten in Shibukawa City, but it is also known by many other names in other areas. For example, in Kawaba Village, they are called "ama-dango" (sweet dango), "sato-neji" (sugar screw), or "su-suri-dango.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
In addition to meals, farmers sometimes have a snack or light meal called "kojyu-han" during the farming season. Amaneji was eaten for this kojyu-han, and its sweetness soothed the weary body. When sugar was precious, it was also eaten as a form of hospitality for guests or as a sweet treat for special occasions. In Kawaba Village, people used to make ama-dango by heating beans over a leftover fire in the irori while farming. It can be said to be a local dish born from the wisdom of daily life to use vegetables and beans as much as possible without wasting them.
- How to eat
To make amaneji in Shibukawa City, first make a soup by boiling grain bean paste, hot water, and salt in a pot. In a separate pot, boil water and add flour kneaded with water, rounded into dumplings with a spoon, and heat. Finally, add the dumpling-shaped flour to the azuki bean juice and bring to a boil. For ama-dango, azuki beans are boiled over low heat, seasoned with salt and sugar, and brought to a further boil, to which flour kneaded directly with water is added in bite-size pieces with a spoon. The softer the flour is, the better the red bean paste is mixed with it and the more delicious it tastes.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
In addition to being commonly made at home, Shibukawa City publishes recipes for ama-neji on the Internet. The city of Shibukawa has also made efforts to make it widely known both within and outside of the prefecture. In addition, the dish is also featured as a menu item at the "Healthy Snack Class" held in Shibukawa City, and other efforts are being made to pass on the tradition of the local dish. Kawaba Village, meanwhile, holds cooking classes for junior high school students and introduces them to how to make ama-dango (sweet dumplings). The village is making efforts to familiarize junior high school students with local cuisine.