Hard boil the carrots, and cut out the sakura flowers and petals with a cookie cutter. Use a knife or a pair of scissors if you don't have one. It's just for decoration so it doesn't have to be perfect.
Do the same if you are using ham or kamboko.
Divide the rice into two equal portions, add the umeboshi and kombu tea to one half to make it red, and add the kombu tea and salt to the other half to make it white. We will be adding the filling to the white rice, so lightly flavor it.
Make two each of the red and white rice balls. Add your favorite filling to the white ones, leave the red ones as-is, and shape into cylindrical or round rice balls.
Wrap up Step 4 in shiso leaves, arrange the cut carrots on top, and they're done. I have placed them on top of the shiso leaves this time.
This is a white rice ball. I used kombu tsukudani as the filling this time.
"Shortcut Japanese Snack ~Morning Glory Rice Balls" Recipe ID: 1155341. Serve this in the early summer months.
"Shortcut Japanese Snack ~ Maple Leaf Rice Balls~" Recipe ID: 1210661. Serve during the fall season.
Story Behind this Recipe
I made rice balls with sakura mochi in mind.
Feel free to flavor the rice balls however you like. You may use furikake or sakura denbu, deco-furi etc. to make these. I think cutting out several small circles from the carrots and putting them together helps to set the mood.