Rinse the mochi rice, and put it into a microwaveable casserole dish (or similar) then add the water. Leave to soak for more than 30 minutes, an hour if possibe.
Make six 10 g balls of anko. They don't have to be perfectly formed, as long as they are in lumps. (These are for the sesame seed and kinako versions.)
Make three 40 g balls of anko. (These are for the anko versions.) For both sizes of anko balls, you only need to measure the first ones and then eyeball the rest to match in size.
Combine the ＊ sesame seeds and sugar and grind them up lightly. Combine the ☆ kinako and sugar, too.
Cover the Step 1 mochi rice with a lid or plastic wrap and microwave for 6 minutes. Mix it up with a rice paddle, and microwave for an additional 4 minutes.
When it has finished cooking in the microwave, cover with a tightly wrung out moistened kitchen towel and leave for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, mash up the rich with a pestle. (You can buy a mortar and pestle at a 100 yen shop.)
Moisten your hands and divide the mashed rice into three 30 g balls (for the anko version) and six 40 g lumps (for the sesame and kinako versions).
Form about 4 cm long rice balls. These are for the anko-coated ohagi, so there's no anko inside them.
Flatten out a 40 g portion rice from Step 8 with moistened hands.
Put an anko ball from Step 2 (10 g each) on top of the rice and form into a ball. Make 6 like this, and coat 3 in the sesame-sugar mix and 3 in the kinako-sugar mix made in Step 4. The sesame and kinako ohagi are done.
To make the anko ohagi, spread out a 40 g anko ball (made in Step 3) and wrap it around the small rice ball you made in Step 8 from the bottom to the top.
Spread out the anko so that the rice can't be seen anymore.
Done. Arrange them with the nicer side facing up. Even some store-made ohagi have some of the rice peeking through, so ~
This is how the sesame seed and kinako ohagi look when cut.
Story Behind this Recipe
I liked the size of the ohagi that friend of mine made for me 15-16 years ago. Since then, after making an ohagi recipe that was in a cookbook that came with my microwave oven several times, the recipe gradually evolved in terms of timing and amounts to become my own. The original recipe called for equal amounts of sugar and sesame seeds or kinako, but I've really cut down on the sugar.
The original recipe in the cookbook that came with my microwave oven used both mochi (sweet short-grain) rice and regular japonica (uruchi or medium-grain) rice, but using mochi rice only makes the ohagi more sticky and chewy Please use your favorite ready-made anko. I used an anko made in Sapporo, Hokkaido, that actor Yujiro Ishihara is said to have loved. If your mochi rice is old, add 10% more water.