Soak the cherry leaves in lukewarm water to remove excess salt.
I used store-bought tsubu-an this time. If the paste is too runny, put it in a pan and heat to get rid of the excess moisture.
Shape the adzuki paste into 15 g balls.
Mix the boiling water and sugar in a heatproof dish. Add the red food coloring to make it pale pink. Stir in the domyojiko and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Microwave at 600 W for 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
Stir the mixture lightly and cover with plastic. Microwave it for a further 3 minutes and 20 seconds, then let it stand for 10 minutes to let it steam.
Put 20 g of the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap. Make it into a thin round circle. Keep the rest covered with plastic wrap all the time to prevent it from drying out. Repeat the process with the rest of the mixture while it is still hot.
Moisten your hands lightly and wrap the adzuki paste with the prepared dough.
Correct the shape inside the plastic wrap. Pat dry the sakura leaves with kitchen paper and wrap the mochi with them. The leaf veins should be on the outside.
This is the type of tsubu-an and domyojiko I used.
Story Behind this Recipe
Usually, you fill sakura-mochi with koshi-an. But as I refer tsubu-an, I filled the mochi with it.
The food coloring is quite strong so use a tiny amount. The sweetened dough is very sticky so you need to moisten your hands to put a portion onto the plastic wrap and wrap the bean paste in it. The resultant look will be better. If the bean paste is too runny, boil away the excess moisture first. Otherwise it will be very sticky when you try to shape it. Adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.