Dengaku is skewered ingredients such as tofu bean curd, konnyaku, eggplant, Japanese yam, seasoned with sugar and sweet rice wine. It is often glazed with miso soy bean paste, which is called miso dengaku. Almost all cuisine called dengaku in Japan are miso one. Sometimes, fish is also cooked the same way, and is called gyoden, “gyo” meaning fish, and “den” which is an abbreviation of dengaku.
In the end of Heian period (794-1185), tofu was introduced from China, and a cuisine that skewered and broiled tofu was created. In the Eiroku era (1557-1570), broiled tofu grazed with miso became popular. The way tofu pierced with small stick looks like a dance that cerebrates the rice planting, called dengaku, where people wearing white clothing stand on a long wooden stick.
Before Eiroku era (1624-1645), it was eaten in winter as a food that warm up the body. But after that, it started to be served at small tea shops along with rice mixed with green leaves. In Kyoto, dengaku which grazed with miso mixed with Japanese pepper, called kinome dengaku, kinome meaning bud, became a popular cuisine that makes people feel the coming of spring.
Miso dengaku is now a popular food eaten all over Japan, and there are dengaku as local cuisines. In the Tohoku region, northern part of Japan, especially in North of Iwate prefecture, miso dengaku using tofu is popular to eat on celebrations. Nikomi dengaku, which means simmered dengaku, is also popular, which normally use konnyaku. Simmered or boiled konnyaku glazed with sweet miso became a standard food which can easily be eaten with one hand.