Sakura Mochi (Cherry Blossom Rice Cakes) Made Easily in the Microwave
When I think of quintessential springtime Japanese sweets, I think of sakura-mochi (a rice cake, the color of cherry blossoms, with bean paste inside, wrapped in a preserved cherry leaf). Store-bought ones are filled with koshi-an (smooth bean paste), but if you make them yourself, you can use whatever kind of bean paste you like!
Soak the cherry leaves in water for about 15 minutes, to remove the salt. Drain and pat dry.
Divide the bean paste into 8 portions and form into balls.
In a heatproof bowl, mix the rice powder, sugar and boiling water, and stir well. Color the mixture with red food coloring dissolved in water to make pink. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes.
Cook for 2 minutes at 600w in the microwave. Let sit and steam for 15 minutes.
Mix with a wooden spatula until sticky.
Wet your palm, and spread 1/8 of the rice dough on your hand. Put a bean paste ball in the middle, and wrap it up.
Roll it up in a cherry leaf, so the top of the leaf faces inside.
Story Behind this Recipe
My husband hates koshi-an (smooth bean paste)! He'll only eat chunky bean paste, so I decided to make these myself.
Wet your palm well in Step 6, or the dough will stick to your hands and be hard to handle.