Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cherry blossom dainties

Cherry blossom dainties
Cherry blossoms (sakura) are serious business in Japan. As the season approaches, the weather report always carries estimated times of blossom opening and full bloom so people can plan their cherry blossom appreciation parties accordingly. A quick burst of warm weather during the week had the weather people forecasting full bloom last weekend. The timing couldn't have been more perfect for trying out this easy recipe for sweet bean-filled cherry blossom dainties, AKA sakura mochi!

Tomoe koshi-an powder
This may require a trip to the Japanese grocer's. I don't keep shiratamako (glutinous rice flour with added potato starch) or an (sweetened bean paste) on hand, much less salt-preserved cherry blossoms, so it certainly did for me!

Shiratamako, despite its name, is not actually a powder. It has a lumpy texture in the packet, but dissolves instantly on contact with water. It differs both from joshinko (Japanese white rice flour) and mochiko (glutinous rice flour without added potato starch).

The shop I went to had a couple of choices on the an front. The portion-sized packets seemed to be on the watery side to me, so I opted for Tomoe koshi-an powder. This worked really well, and there is plenty left over for future adventures into Japanese sweet making. If using ready-made an, you will need 160 g. I use smooth koshi-an, but the original recipe calls for the bumpier tsubu-an.

The Young Man (and many Facebook friends) were mightily impressed with these. I am almost ashamed to admit that they came together in just over 40 minutes!

Sakura mochi: Cherry blossom dainties

For the an
36 g Tomoe koshi-an powder
108 ml water
80 g sugar
[or 160 g ready-made an]

16 g shiratamako
80 ml water
40 g plain flour
4 tsp sugar
pinch red food colouring dissolved in 1/4 tsp water
vegetable oil
6 salt-preserved cherry blossom flowers

1 To make the an, bring the water and koshi-an powder to the boil, reduce the heat to medium, add sugar and stir until thickened, taking care not to allow the an to burn. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Roll into 8 equal sized balls.

2 Gently swish the preserved cherry blossoms in a cup of water to remove the excess salt.

3 To make the mochi batter, using whisk, mix the shiratamako with half the water. Add the food colouring-water mixture, flour, sugar and the remaining water.

4 Heat a frying pan over low heat and coat with a little vegetable oil. Make oval-shaped pancakes with the batter, using about 20 ml of batter each time. When the first side dries, cook briefly on the other side and set aside to cool.

5 Wrap a pancake around each ball of an, with the side you cooked first on the outside. Top with a cherry blossom.


Recipe source: ABC Cooking Studio (there's also a helpful video (in Japanese))
Tomoe koshi-an photo source

No comments:

Post a Comment