Japanese cuisine is one that hasn’t been fully explored in many parts of the world. While it has finally started to make its presence felt in India now, thanks to many Japanese restaurants that are opening up in metro cities, we are still discovering new facets of the cuisine. A lot of those who do know a bit about Japanese cuisine will tell you a fair amount about sushi and ramen, but nothing more significant. One of the major aspects of this cuisine, which dates back to 17th century, is its desserts. And while it may not be as popular as say a sushi, but the Japanese have been making sweets since ancient times?

The history of Japanese sweets goes back to mochi, a sticky rice cake, which is known as the oldest processed food in Japan.  The dessert menu of a Japanese restaurant is sure to impress all those who like their desserts with an edge. From fluffy Japanese cheesecakes, daifuku, matcha cheese tart and loads of breads. And if you ask me how I know a Japanese menu so much, it’s because of this cutesy place in Delhi- Harajuku Tokyo Café. With an ambience that resonates with Kawaii; the culture of cuteness in Japan, Harajuku is offers a range of Japanese treats from sushis, gyoza, katsu to ramen and hand pulled noodles. And that’s not all, a separate dessert counter is a delight for anyone with a sweet tooth and I'm no exception. Shortcake, cream puff, cheese tart and oh-so-light and airy Japanese cotton cheesecake, is what sweet dreams are made of.


And after much drooling, I simply had to get the brain behind all these desserts, talking. So, I caught up with pastry chef Asami Indo, who is also the Partner Chef at Harajuku Tokyo Café to spill the beans on Japanese desserts. With over 10 years of experience, chef Asami after finishing her culinary studies, mastered her skill in France and Dubai. She is the mind behind the Kawaii culture that one can experience at Harajuku Tokyo Cafe, in the form of desserts like manga macarons, Kawaii cream puffs, the signature cookies and more. We got her to reveal tips to ace Japanese pancakes, her absolute favourites, baking ingredients, a quick dessert recipe she tried recently and much more.  

 1. Have you tried any Indian dessert?

Yes, I have tried kheer, carrot halwa, suji halwa and kulfi :)

2. Name one Japanese dessert that one can bake at home in no time.

The Japanese shortcake

3. List 3 of your absolute favourite desserts.

Strawberry shortcake, cream buns and fluffy Japanese pancakes

4. Share 3 tips to ace fluffy Japanese pancakes.

Timing, temperature and the method of folding the batter are crucial

5. What is that one dessert that unexpectedly has gain wide acceptance in India?

That is the cotton cheesecake which is our signature cake. It's different from a normal cheesecake, it's fluffy and light in texture. I think it's one of the best Japanese cakes that people from other countries love and Indians are loving it too.

6. One baking ingredient you swear by.

All Japanese desserts are made with egg whites so that is actually the main ingredient 7. Share a quick dessert recipe that you may have tried recently. Autumn is here! When figs are in season and I come to see them in the supermarket, I can’t stop buying them and making sweets. I like the combination of figs, honey and cream cheese, so why not make a cake using these three ingredients?

Honey Walnut Fig Cheesecake Recipe

Servings 6 people


For 18cm/ 7inch round pan

75 g (3/4 cup) graham crackers or your favorite cookies

30 g (1/4 cup) walnuts

50 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

200 g cream cheese

100 g (2/5 cup) Greek yogurt

60 g (3tbsp) honey

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla beans or vanilla extract

15 g (2 tbsp) corn flour  

180 g (4/5 cup) whipping cream/ heavy cream


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/392℉. Line the pan with baking paper and set aside.

2. Put the graham crackers in a food processor and blend. Add the walnuts and blend together. Then add the melted butter and mix to combine.

3. Put the crumbs into the prepared pan and press to make it even. Let it cool in the fridge before using.

4. Put the cream cheese in the clean food processor and blend it until creamy. Add the greek yogurt, and mix to combine.

5. Mix in the honey, then add the egg and mix again.

6. Mix in the vanilla beans and corn flour, add whipping cream then mix until it gets completely incorporated.

7. Pour cheesecake mixture over prepared crust and place on a baking tray. Pour hot water in the tray and bake it in the preheated oven for 15 min. Then turn down to 160℃/320℉, bake it for another 40 min. Let it cool in the fridge.

8. Once it is cooled, remove from the pan and place on a plate. Arrange fresh fig slices over the cheesecake. Sprinkle it with walnuts and a drizzle of honey.