These are easy sakura mochi (cherry blossom rice cakes) made with glutinous rice cooked in a rice cooker. I don't use food coloring, so they look very elegant. Enjoy a spring taste with cherry blossom-flavored adzuki bean paste! They're great for when you have a picnic under the cherry blossoms, or for any other kinds of celebrations.
Rinse the rice, then add to the rice cooker and fill with water up to the mark for cooking 1 rice cooker cup of rice.
Add sugar and stir well. Press Start on the rice cooker. You don't need to soak the rice beforehand.
Weigh and divide the cherry blossom an into 25 g portions. You can use tsubu-an or koshi-an.
Rinse the salted cherry leaves gently and soak in water to desalt for about 15 minutes.
Rinse the leaves again and carefully pat dry with paper towels.
After the rice is cooked, divide it into 8 portions.
Moisten your hands, then take one portion of the rice and squeeze it several times to gently squash the rice grains. Shape into flat rounds and place the anko on top. Wrap the anko with the rice. Be careful not to burn yourself because it will be quite hot!
If it sticks to your hands, moisten your hands again with water. Try to completely cover the adzuki paste with the rice.
You can also place the rice on a piece of cling film first and press it into a flat round with a plastic spatula. In this way your hands will remain clean.
Shape the rice balls into ovals.
Wrap the oval-shaped rice with cherry leaves and serve Instead of cherry leaves, you can also use kinako or sesame seeds to coat the rice. For a change, you can also put the rice inside and cover it with anko for an inside-out version.
This time, I used sakura-an. The contrasting pink and white makes these look so pretty.
If you coat the rice with plenty of kinako (roasted soy powder) after step 9, they are called kinako ohagi. Children love them!!
Story Behind this Recipe
My hometown area has a tradition of making sakura mochi with glutinous rice, not with Domyoji rice flour. We cook the rice in a rice cooker so it is very easy. I made white sakura mochi without colouring and put cherry blossom flavored adzuki bean paste inside, and they turned out very elegantly. You can make ohagi in this way as well. This is a fool-proof recipe!
The key to this recipe is to gently crush the rice grains after the rice is cooked, to create the mochi's thick texture. It will be quite hot, so make sure to moisten your hands and work quickly so that you don't burn yourself. To colour the mochi, add a little food colouring at step 2 with a toothpick. It will look pretty.