To prep the ingredients: Remove the salt content of the sakura leaves by soaking them in water (for about 15-20 minutes). Divide the an paste into 5 equal portions, and roll each into an oblong ball.
Add a tiny bit of the food coloring to 90 ml of water to produce a light pink color.
In a heat-proof bowl, add the doumyouji-ko and pink colored water from Step 2 and mix well with a spatula.
Cover with plastic wrap and microwave at 500 W for about 4 minutes. (Adjust the cooking time according to the amount you're making, the wattage of your microwave, etc.)
Let the dough steam under the plastic wrap for about 10 minutes. Add sugar and salt and mix well with a spatula in a cutting motion.
Wrap the dough from Step 5 with plastic wrap and roll into a thick bar. Divide the bar into 5 equal portions with a moistened knife.
Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and form into a flat cake to wrap the an paste. Wrap the prepared an paste from Step 1, to make oblong-shaped mochi.
Repeat Step 7 to create 4 more pieces.
With the underside of the leaf facing down, place each piece of mochi on a sakura leaf, and you're done!
[I used the quartered doumyouji-ko bought from "cotta" (a Japanese online shopping website), and the salt-preserved sakura leaves (small) were bought from "cuoca" (a Japanese specialty store for confectioneries).]
Story Behind this Recipe
To celebrate Hinamatsuri (Girl's Day Festival), I made this Kansai-style sakura mochi that features the subtle saltiness of the sakura leaf, sweetness of an, and the grainy texture of doumyouji-ko.
The coloring should be very light to produce a refined touch. Spread the mochi into a size just big enough to wrap the an paste, and make sure the mochi wrapping is even. That way, they'll look just like those sold in shops.