Cut the lotus roots into about 1 cm square slices. Boil them in hot water with some vinegar and sugar (not on the recipe ingredients) for just about 3 minutes to keep their texture. Transfer the lotus roots and the soup in a bowl and cool it down.
Put all the ☆ ingredients and the aburaage in a pot. Put a small drop lid and let it simmer for a while.
(I use a makeshift drop lid by poking holes in a circular sheet of parchment paper)
Put all the ☆ ingredients and the aburaage into a pot. Place on a small drop lid and let it simmer for a while. (I make some holes on a cooking sheet and use it as a drop lid.)
Simmer it until golden brown. Drain a little bit of the seasoning sauce away but not completely. (It can dry out if you drain away too much.)
Wash the salted cherry-blossoms in water quickly and soak them in water for about 15 minutes to take out the salt. Break apart the cherry-blossoms and drain them with a paper towel.
Put the rice in a bowl when the rice is ready, sprinkle some vinegar, mix it like you are cutting it with a rice scoop, and let it cool down. Add the lotus roots, cherry-blossoms and white sesame seeds too and mix.
Stuff the rice from Step 8 into the aburaage from Step 9. Stuff the rice gently after stuffing the corners of the aburaage as you open up them so that they look nice and plump but keep their softness. Fold in the open side and you're all done.
*Using red ginger pickles and nozawana would also give your rice a beautiful color.
If you keep the boiled lotus roots in the juice of red pickled ginger in some sugar overnight, they'll become pink as well.
Recipe ID: 551611 "Beautiful Forever! Salted Cherry-Blossom (in Plum Vinegar)" would be a good choice for the cherry blossoms. You can of course use store-bought ones.
Story Behind this Recipe
I couldn't forget the bean curd sushi with lotus roots that my friend gave me when I was in high school. I started cooking and learned how to make the bean curd sushi, so I made some arrangements to get the cherry-blossom color.
Adjust the amount of sugar and vinegar you add at Step 1 so that the mixture of them tastes like thin sweet vinegar.