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Cherry Blossom Mochi with Sweet Azuki Bean Filling

Sakura Mochi

Sakura Mochi is a flavored traditional seasonal wagashi (Japanese sweet) enjoyed throughout Japan during the spring season. It's flavored with salt-preserved sakura (cherry blossom) flowers and wrapped in a cherry blossom leaf. There are actually two most popular kinds, the Kanto style (Eastern style...represented by Tokyo), for which the anko (sweet azuki bean paste) is wrapped in a thin mochi flour pancake, and Kansai style (Western style...represented by Kyoto), for which the anko is wrapped in soft steamed mochi, called domyoji. Even though I grew up in Tokyo, I have always preferred Kansai style more because I love the texture of the domyoji mochi so much. So, this is the recipe of my sakura mochi I make every year during the sakura season. I get the pink colored domyoji mochi flour, but you can also make with the regular (white) domyoji mochi flour. You can also make it without any preserved sakura (cherry blossom), and it will be a simple delicious treat of domyoji mochi and anko.

Equipment

Donabe steamer, Mushi Nabe (small or larger)

Servings

12 pieces

Ingredients

  • 20 or so salt-preserved sakura (cherry blossom) flowers with the stems on
  • 12 salt-preserved sakura (cherry blossom) leaves
  • 5 oz (150 g) anko (sweet azuki bean paste)
  • 8 oz (240 g) domyoji mochi flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

      Procedure

      1. Soak the domyoji flour in ample amount of lukewarm water in a bowl for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
      2. Soak the salt-preserved sakura flowers in water in a bowl for a few minutes. Drain and gently rinse to remove excess salt. Pat dry and select 12 prettier looking flowers. Cut off part of the stems if necessary so the remained stems with the flowers are about the same length. Set aside for decoration. Mince the rest of the sakura and the stems which were cut off, and mix with the anko. Divide the anko into 12 and make each into a ball shape. Cover and set aside.
      3. Soak the salt-preserved sakura leaves in water in a bowl for 5 - 10 minutes. Dray and pat-dry the leaves. Cover and set aside.
      4. Get Mushi Nabe ready according to the basic steaming instructions. Wet a cotton mesh cloth for steaming, and wring it well. Spread the cloth over the steam grate and add the domyoji flour. Wrap the domyoji flour with the cloth completely. Cover with lid, and steam for 25 minutes over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and let it rest with the lid on for 5 minutes.
      5. Transfer the steamed domyoji flour (now it's turned into soft domyoji mochi) into a bowl, and add the sugar. Mix well.
      6. Divide the domyoji mochi into 12 and wrap each anko ball. Top each with a reserved sakura flower and wrap with a sakura leaf.
      7. Enjoy immediately or within the same day. (To eat it, some people eat the sakura leaf together with the domyoji mochi, but I prefer to unwrap the leaf, as it can be a little too strong.)

       
      Ingredients for the Sakura Mochi.

       
      Soaking domyoji flour and sakura leaves.


      Making anko balls for filling.


      Domyoji flour becomes so nicely shiny and soft after steaming in donabe.


      Finally, anko balls are wrapped in steamed domyoji mochi, and wrapped in sakura leaves.


      Perfect tea time.

      About the measurements used in our recipes

      For rice measurement, traditional Japanese rice measurement is used.
      • 1 rice-cup = 3/4 US cup = 180 ml
      Other conversions (US to metric measures)
      • 1 cup = 240 ml1
      • 1 inch (1") = 2.5 cm
      • 1 ounce (1 oz) = 30 ml