Traditional Japanese Girl's Day treat (March 3rd)
- Contributed by Catsrecipes Y-Group
- 2 cups azuki beans
- 1¾ cups sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups mochi rice (sweet glutinuous rice)
- 2 cups water
- red food coloring
- sakura leaves (cherry leaves)
- Boil sakura leaves in salted water.
- Soak azuki beans in water.
- In 10 cups of water, boil azuki beans: remove beans from water, then add 3 cups of water and cook for 2-3 hours.
- Add water as necessary.
- Wash mochi rice well, then add 2 cups of water.
- Add some red food coloring.
- Let stand for 2-3 hours, then cook rice.
- Drain beans and place into a cloth bag and squeeze well.
- Place beans into pan and add sugar and salt; mix well.
- Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Form into teaspoon-sized balls.
- When rice is cooked, add sugar and pound well (this will take a lot of time and effort.
- It needs to be smooth and gooey).
- Form rice into balls a little larger than azuki balls.
- Using fingers, wrap rice balls around azuki balls.
- Wrap with sakura leaves and serve.
There are now electric mochi makers in Japan, much like electric bread machines. Mochi making by traditional methods was so time consuming and needed so much effort that families, even whole villages, took the day(s) off to make huge batches that could be distributed, shaped, and dried into rice cakes that could be stored for months. Some of the mochi was, of course, eaten fresh or shaped into treats like Sakura mochi on the day it was made.