mizuame a Japanese term which literally means ‘water candy’. This is a very heavy syrup made by converting starch into sugar in one of two ways. In the first and traditional method, starch (usually from glutinous rice) is mixed with malt, whose enzyme turns it into syrup.
In the second method, the starch used is usually from sweet potatoes or ordinary potatoes; and an acid (hydrochloric, sulphuric, or nitric) is used instead of malt. This second method is by far the more common nowadays, but the first method is said to produce a more flavoursome result, sometimes called ‘barley mizuame’.