The longer we are stuck safely inside, the more time we have to play “What Experimental Concoctions Can I Make In My Kitchen: Quarantine Edition.” First, it was the viral dalogna coffee, also known as whipped coffee, that you’ve likely seen all over TikTok, Instagram, and your counter at home. Now, this crispy Japanese caramel puff also known as karumeyaki is taking over TikTok, giving us yet another way to waste 20 minutes of our day and try not to burn our houses down. If you’re looking to learn how to make karumeyaki, come along on this journey of melted sugar and patience.
Karumeyaki is known by a few different names. It roughly translates from Japanese into English as “grilled caramel.” Some people call it Japanese meringue given its light and airy texture. It’s similar to honeycomb toffee or sponge candy, which looks like pieces of crunchy, airy toffee. However, Karumeyaki is most commonly made inside a ladle, making it look like a poofy cookie that rises in the bowl of a spoon, adding to the general twee-ness of it all.
There are a few different tutorials online showing how to make karumeyaki. The most recent comes from @mjoann69 on TikTok. (A different TikTok from @mjoann69 on karumeyaki has nearly 750K views.) South Korean cooking channel ddulgi on YouTube also has a six-and-a-half minute video from 2019 giving instructions on how to make the cookie-candy. There’s even a 2017 blog post on ThriftyFun sharing a recipe for karumeyaki, claiming the sweet is over 400 years old. While we’re busy making sourdough starters, might as well go full 1600s and give this treat a try.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Karumeyaki. For exact proportions, check out @mjoann69’s helpful TikTok:
- Granulated Sugar
- An egg white
- Baking Soda
- A microwave-safe cup
- Chopsticks to stir
- A lot of patience
You’ll start by whipping together the egg white and baking soda. Once the mixture is fluffy and thick enough to stick to a chopstick, set it aside. Then, in your microwave-safe cup, mix your sugar and water together and microwave it for one to two minutes. You should see big, caramel-y bubbles in your cup. Finally, take some of your egg and baking soda mixture on your chopstick and mix it into the hot sugar-water. You should see the mixture thicken, thin out, and thicken again. Once it turns a paler white, stop stirring, take your chopstick out and watch the mixture rise. It’ll poof up like an edible version of elephant toothpaste. (If you don't see it start to rise right away, try mixing some more.)
Finally, you can take your karumeyaki out of your cup (or ladle if you're being traditional) and enjoy! It'll probably break apart when you're removing it. It's OK. Practice makes perfect and it'll still taste delicious, like a caramel-y meringue cookie. If nothing else, watching the mixture magically rise will be a welcome distraction.