Kitsûe: What is it and where does it come from?


Rice cakes are a conventional snack in many countries but they are probably most common in Japan. Kitsûe is a traditional Japanese cake prepared with sticky rice mixed with egg and sugar.

You can munch it as a snack or consume it as dessert. It is usually served as a side dish but can also become a main dish if eaten in large portions. They are available at almost every convenience store, online, mart, and even retail business in Japan.

People in many countries know and eat this cake. They are available in most of the metropolitan regions of America and Canada.

What is Kitsûe?

Kitsûe is a type of traditional rice cake.

People regard them as a trademark of Japanese culture. As they have been a part of various Japanese movies, series, anime, and cartoon shows. The cake has been a feature in advertisements for many Japanese products.

They are also served on special occasions such as wedding ceremonies.


Kitsûe’s inception dates back to the 7th century. The first mention of the rice cake was in the book Nihon Shoki which is a periodical translation of The Chronicles of Japan and happens to be the second oldest book of the Japanese Past.

When exactly was it discovered?

The exact history is still unknown as it could have easily originated from China and later migrated to Japan when Chinese settlers immigrated to Japan. Buddhist monks from China who lived in Japan during the Heian period may have discovered this rice cake.

Most of the monks during those days maintained a vegetarian diet and did not have many ingredients at their disposal. This could have led to the discovery of the rice cake.

They needed edibles that uses simple ingredients that are easily available. It included ingredients that could provide the energy to meditate and work for hours.

It could have easily inspired other dishes such as mochi which is a famous Japanese rice cake and also kintoki and manjû.

How is it made?

The chief ingredient of this cake is the special type of glutinous rice.

To prepare it, the rice is first washed and boiled using water until the rice is soft. Mushy rice along with other ingredients such as sugar, salt, and baking powder are its chief ingredients.

The pulpy mass is then rolled into mini balls and made into a crisp that is golden brown when deep fried.

When can enjoy them?

You can enjoy these crispy delights anytime as a snack or they can become ingredients for other dishes.

Most of the rice cakes come with instructions on the back as to how to prepare them. 

How does it taste?

The tastefully depends on the ingredients used along with rice. The possibility is endless as they are available in different shapes with different stuffings.

Due to its popularity, people have started coming up with unique recipes of their own. Traditionally the fillings consisted of onions, seaweed, boiled eggs, small shredded pieces of chicken, and diced pork bits. The outer crispy part could include some sesame seeds or crushed peanuts.

People in Japan descibe Japanese cakes as the food of the gods. Depending on the ingredients and method used it could savory or sweet and can come in a number of flavors and shapes.

Is this a healthy snack?

healthy snack

Kitsûe is undoubtedly a healthy snack when made using ingredients such as brown rice, vegetables, and small pieces of meat.

The type of rice used while preparing the cake has nutritional values and is a great source of protein and carbohydrates.

Sticky rice possesses better nutrients than normal rice and can include many nutritive elements. However, most of them are deeply fried which can be a high source of fats and could prove unhealthy.

They are a great option for hunger between meals. Having a snack every now and then can help maintain your energy so can stay energized. They do not possess many calories and are definitely a healthy snack.

Are there any concerns involved?

The rice cakes use ingredients that are safe to consume and there are no health concerns in eating them.

However, diabetic patients may need to stay away from them as they can be sweet in most cases.

We can make them with simple ingredients such as sugar, salt, and soda with fillings using vegetables and meat in small portions. All these make it safe to consume.


In conclusion, we can say that Kitsûe is a popular Japanese confectionary. Its main ingredients include glutinous rice, sugar, salt, baking powder, etc.

They look like small balls in shape before we deep fry them. We can eat them directly or use them as an ingredient for some other dish. We may eat them as a snack or as a main dish. It is a healthy and safe food item to consume that does not come with any concerns.


What is a Kitsûe?

Kitsûe is a popular Japanese rice cake made with glutinous sticky rice with various fillings and then deep fried for crispiness.

Where can you buy them?

They are available in most of the convenience stores in Japan and you can even purchase them online as they are gaining popularity in the United States and Canada.

When did it originate?

It origin is still unknown but it was mentioned in the book Nihon Shoki which was written around 712 AD and shows its old origin.

How was it traditionally prepared?

It was traditionally prepared using simple ingredients such as brown rice, green onions, and chunks of meat.

What does it look like?

It is mostly shaped into small balls but nowadays it can come in any shape using different types of fillings.

What else goes better with it?

They are usually served along with tea but can be enjoyed with sugar syrup and soy sauce.

Do they have nutritional value?

They possess high nutritional value because of the healthy ingredients that are used in their preparation.

Can we consider it a healthy snack?

They are definitely a healthy snack to consume between meals to keep energy levels high and can be a rich source of proteins and carbohydrates.