Kanto Sakura Mochi

It's time for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) here in Helsinki. Sakura mochi are Japanese sweets eaten during the hanami season. It's an anko-filled sweet pancake wrapped in a salty cherry leaf. If you like the sakura aroma, you'll love these! The term Kantō (with a long o) refers to the Tokyo side of Japan. In Kansai area (around Kyoto) sakura mochi are different (sometimes called dōmyōji). I've made those before (the post is in Finnish, but their recipe can be found at Wagashi Maniac's blog in English and German too).

Today I woke up at 6 o'clock and made 32 pieces. Later in the afternoon I went to sell them at Roihuvuori Hanami Festival. I almost couldn't believe how quickly they were sold out. Next time I'll triple the amount at least :D One lady bought two at first and later came to buy 7 more. And one little girl came to tell me that it was delicious. It's nice that other Westerners enjoy them too

I've tested some other recipes before, but Wagashi Maniac's has been the best I've tested this far. Of course I had to tweak the recipe a bit to suit my liking :D As always :)

Btw, I bumped into this while I was seeking the meaning for a German measure "Tl" (which is teaspoon I now know). The "warning" that's at the end is quite funny haha: "Keep in mind that in German recipes, the small measurements are not exact. Cooking something from a German recipe often involves more than just following the instructions. I've usually found that it takes a couple of tries before I get something that tastes right."

P.S. Normally I have lots to talk about before I go on to the recipe but today I feel worn out and don't seem to have anything interesting to share. Sorry...

Kanto Sakura Mochi  (makes 15 pieces)

adapted from Wagashi Maniac

90 g weak wheat flour (Purple Orchid brand, hakuriki-ko etc.)
3 tsp shiratama rice flour
150-170 ml water (it takes some trial and error until the consistency is right to get even pancakes)
30 g sugar
a couple drops of red food colouring
225 g anko (red bean paste): I used tsubu-an, as I like it more, but koshi-an is ok too
15 salted cherry leaves; soaked in water for 10 minutes to remove saltiness and the stems cut (I haven't posted a recipe for the leaves, but maybe later this year, once the leaves have grown enough to be picked (and pickled!).

optional: 15 salted cherry blossoms, soaked in water for 10 minutes to remove extra saltiness

Add a little amount of water to shiratama rice flour and stir even. Add the rest of the water to wheat flour and mix the batter even. Add rice flour+water -mixture and sugar to wheat flour batter and stir even. Colour the batter lightly pinkish with red food colouring.

Form anko into ball shape (15 g each). Heat up a teflon-coated frying pan with medium/low heat. Wipe the pan's surface with an oiled kitchen paper. Spoon a little amount of batter on the warmed pan (spread the batter into an oval shape). Let the batter cook for some minutes until "the pancake" has firmed up (they are baked only on one side). Once the pancakes are cool enough to handle, fill them with anko. Wrap the cherry leaf on the pancake and decorate with a cherry blossom.

(The cherry leaf and blossom are meant to be eaten too, otherwise the wagashi will be too sweet.)

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