Tag

Anko

Blog, Spring Food

Sakura Season Dango

One of the best memories I have in my life is visiting Japan at Sakura season.

If  you have never been lucky enough to witness it,seeing the blossom and the way people in Japan celebrate Hanami is just breathtaking.

I think I miss Japan the most at this time of year.  I always like to celebrate Japanese customs and traditions it helps me feel close to Japan  when I cannot be there.

How about making some tofu dango and sit with these and a bento under the blossoms and if like me you cannot be there just dream you are.

To make these three colour dango which signify purification,health and luck you will need shiratama flour and a carton of silken tofu, I used Clearspring organic tofu.  First drain you tofu and section into three equal pieces and divide into three bowls. Next add colouring to two bowls I used matcha for green and natural beetroot juice for pink. Cream the tofu in each bowl then to each one start to add your shiratama flour. Keep adding until it is a stiff dough ( people say to think of what an ear lope feels like and this is what dango should feel like when you press it ) Heat up a pan of boiling water and drop in your dango balls when they float to the top they are done,scoop them out and drop into iced water. Pat them dry and slide them onto skewers. These are delicious dipped into kinako (soy bean flour ) I actually had green kinako which symbolises the spring green bush warbler bird (uguisu).

Enjoy with a Sakura tea.

Happy Hanami

Blog, Spring Food

Spring Equinox Botamochi

Happy spring equinox !

幸せな春分

The bi-annual days of the vernal equinox (spring equinox) are  upon us. In Japan it is a Buddhist festival known as higan. In the spring it is known as haru no higan .

To celebrate I made Botamochi but this year instead of the traditional confectionery made of sweet mochi rice pounded and shaped with a red bean centre . I made them with pounded millet. I noticed that when I made my awa-zenzai (see my awa-zenzai post ) that the millet served its self well to making Ohagi. 

I rolled them in kinako and ground black sesame. 

It is traditional to take these with flowers and incense to the graves of ancestors at this time.

In the spring the sweets are called Botamochi named after the tree peony botan . In the fall the same sweets are called ohagi named after the clover bush hagi.

See some of my other  posts of Ohagi or botamochi for the recipe. 

I also made the more traditional sweet . Which you can get tye recipe for by searching Ohagi or Botamochi.  If you want to make around 6 sweets just half my recipe.

Blog, Spring Food

Sakura Mochi

Sakura Mochi a traditional spring wagashi made  for Hinamatsuri and also to celebrate spring and the coming Sakura season.

There are three colours associated with the girls day festival .  White is for purification, green for health and pink for luck. I made Sakura Mochi in the three colours. Sakura Mochi is Mochi  rice cake with a sweet red bean paste filling and wrapped in a salted pickled Sakura leaf and topped with a salted Sakura flower. They are a nice combination of sweet and salty. Perfect with a green tea.

The recipe is basically the same as my ohagi recipe. If you live outside of japan you may not be able to get the leaves and blossom so easily although you maybe able to order them online from www.souschef.co.uk

I used matcha to colour the rice green and beetroot juice for the pink.

Why not try making Sakura Mochi to celebrate spring.

Autumn Food, Blog

Kabocha Shiratama Dango

I often make tofu dango (shitatama rice flour and silken tofu ). It got me thinking about if I could use pumpkin to make a Halloween dango. So I thought I’d give it a try . Being a recipe creator is all about trying out new ideas in the kitchen. These kabocha dango turned out amazing. Soft and chewy mochi balls on a bed of sweet bean paste and dusted with kinako and ground black sesame. What a perfect Japanese wagashi treat for Halloween.

I started out by steaming some kabocha and when it was cool enough I removed the skin and gave it a mash in a bowl.

Add one heaped tablespoon of pumpkin with three tablespoons of Shiratama rice flour,half a teaspoon of maple syrup and a drop of water to help bind. Cream everything together until you have a dough ball about the size of a tennis ball. Break off pieces and roll them in your hands do not make them too big as they will not cook through.

You should have enough to make three skewers each one having three dango. Boil a pot of water and drop the balls into the water,when they are done they will float to the top. I always leave them that extra min. Scoop out the balls and drop into ice cold water. Pat them dry and put them through the skewers. Top with what ever you fancy.

Happy Halloween.

 

 

Blog

Otsukimi ( moon viewing festival )

Tsukimi or otsukimi お月見 is the Japanese autumn moon viewing festival . The moons round shape is the symbol for fertility and at this time people pray for a good harvest. The date varies each year 2018  will be on September 24th. Japanese people display pampas grass known as susuki in their homes as a symbol of good luck and  make Tsukimi dango, rice-flour dumplings, because it looks similar to a full moon. After offering them to the moon, Japanese people eat the Tsukimi dango in order to obtain good health and happiness. Other foods which are associated with Tsukimi include chestnuts, known as “kuri” in Japanese, and taro, known as “sato imo”, in Japanese, as well as kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and persimmons ( kaki ).

You will often see the rabbit depicted at this time as Japanese people see a rabbit in the moon pounding Mochi rice not a man in the moon. 

Why not celebrate the autumn moon festival and make some dango search mitarashi dango. 

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Chestnut Autumn Wagashi

This is a simple wagashi for autumn made of only three ingredients,chestnuts,sugar and koshian a smooth sweet bean paste.

First either roast and shell your chestnuts or like I did you can buy them already done in packets like this.

You will need around 15 whole chestnuts,add these to a bowl and start to mash them if you have a suribachi ( mortar and pestle ) use that. I used the flat end of a rolling pin to mash my chestnuts. Add to this two tablespoons of organic unrefined cane sugar and cream the sugar into the chestnut mash. Then divide your mash into three and put in separate plastic wrap roll into a ball and flatten out. Undo your wrap and in the middle of each place a ball of your bean paste. Gather up the sides of your flattened chestnut and make sure you cover the bean paste roll up in plastic wrap again to shape. I dipped mine in some sesame seeds for extra flavour and to make them look pretty but you don’t have to do this.

Lovely served with green tea as they are very sweet.

Blog, Summer Food

Tofu & Yuzu Dessert Pots

These perfect little pots are just the thing when you want a delicious healthy dessert.

Made with a raw base first you will need to throw in a blender a handful of each of walnuts,almonds,pumpkin & sunflower seeds,cranberries,oats and optional flax meal and  hemp seeds,you can even put in some cacao powder to make it chocolate if you wish . Blend you base ingredients and spoon out into your desired pots,then press down firm to push all the base ingredients together making a little hollow in the middle. Add a few raspberries or what ever fruit you like into the hollow.

Now make your tofu mousse topping. I used 3/4 of a carton of organic ClearSpring silken tofu you can use what ever silken tofu you can buy. Add this to your blender with one tablespoons of melted coconut butter and two tablespoons of yuzu juice. If you can’t find yuzu juice you could use lemon juice. Blend this all together and spoon out on top of your base and fruit. I then put mine in the freezer for 20 mins to set. Take them out and add a heaped teaspoon of sweet beans. You don’t have to add the sweet beans but it really gives the dessert that japanese flavour. Add some chopped crystalized yuzu peel a raspberry and a little mint,then chill until you need them later.

 

 

Blog, Spring Food

Kashiwa Mochi

Happy Children’s day Japan?
To day May 5th in Japan is known as ( Kodomo no hi ) ( こどもの日)
It is part of the string of national holidays over the Golden Week period .
This day is in fact for the boys as girls day Hina Matsuri was in March . However a lot of people celebrate this day now as children’s day.
It is traditional to eat these mochi wagashi called Kashiwa mochi to day . They symbolise a child’s growth as an oak leaf is used to wrap the mochi ( not edible ). The reason an oak leaf is used is because oak trees do not shed their leaves until the new ones start to grow so thus are seen as a symbol of harmonious flow from one generation to the next. They are also a symbol of growth,strength and prosperity. These mochi are made from pounded sweet joshinko rice flour and filled with bean paste . Other mochi can be filled with white sweet bean and miso paste known as misoan. How would you know if a mochi is filled with bean paste or miso paste ? Well look at the leaves the mochi is wrapped in. If the veins are on the outside there is bean paste inside.

I was lucky enough to be sent some of the preserved oak leaves from japan so I set out to make Kashiwa Mochi . I’m really hoping next year I am in japan eating an authentic Japanese one and visiting the wisteria park and seeing the azalea.

To make 5 Kashiwa Mochi

( they do not keep well so only make what you plan to eat on the day or at the very latest the next day)

x5 preserved oak leaves ( not edible)

125g of Koshi-an ( smooth bean paste)

100g of Joshinko flour

x1 tablespoon of organic granulated sugar

130 mil of water

you will need a sharp knife,some paper towel, a microwaveable bowl,something to pound the Mochi like a rolling pin or pestle and plastic wrap and a spoon ( also have to hand a bowl of water and a damp cloth.

First rinse and pat dry with some paper towel your oak leaves and set aside.

Then make five balls of sweet bean paste and set aside

Add joshinko flour and sugar to a bowl and mix then add your water and mix. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 4 mins.

When done remove from the microwave and use a wet spoon to loosen the edges. Start to pound your Mochi with your pestle or rolling pin.

When it is smooth and elastic take out of the bowl and place on a damp surface, dampen your hands and knead the Mochi.

When nice and stretchy form into a log shape and cut into five pieces with a damp sharp knife. Cover with a damp cloth,while you make each mochi. Keep your hands and surfaces damp to avoid sticking.

Flatten each piece out into an egg shape then place a ball of sweet bean paste in the centre and fold over your Mochi to cover it and then pinch the ends together. Wrap with an oak leaf and you are done.

They are best eaten straight away they are so chewy and soft. If you need to store them wrap them in plastic wrap and put in an airtight container. I did have one the next day and although still nice they were no where near as nice as eating straight away.

I hope what ever you do you all have a wonderful Golden week in Japan and happy children’s day !

 

 

Autumn Food, Blog

Ohagi

The Autumn equinox is nearly upon us. In Japan it is a Buddhist festival known as higan. In the spring it is known as haru no higan . To celebrate I made Ohagi. This is a traditional confectionery made of sweet mochi rice pounded and shaped with a red bean centre . It is traditional to take these with flowers and incense to the graves of ancestors at this time. In the spring the sweets are called Botamochi named after the tree peony botan . In the fall the same sweets are called ohagi named after the clover bush hagi. I covered mine with kinako and black sesame .

Served with a nice green tea they make a wonderful treat .

This is how to make your very own ( it takes a little time but is well worth the effort !)
1 cup of Japanese rice
1 cup of mochi rice
plastic wrap
tsubu-an ( bean paste )
toppings  matcha powder,kinako ground black sesame powder
first wash your rice together really well changing the water a few times
place in your rice cooker with water up to level 2 and cook until done
then pound your rice I use the end of a rolling pin until some it’s mashed but still has some grain don’t over pound or it will be to sticky mix it as your pounding in between with your rice paddle so it’s even.
take about 70g of rice if your having rice on the outside and make balls of these in plastic wrap . Flatten each one spreading it out. Measure out balls of bean paste 30g and place in the middle of each flattened out ball ( mould  the rice around the bean paste .
If you want to do a reverse 40g rice and 60g red bean paste .
when they are all done roll them in your chosen topping .
I like to then wrap each one in plastic wrap and freeze them and defrost over night ( great for a bento dessert ) .

Blog, Spring Food

Botamochi

The bi-annual days of the vernal equinox are nearly upon us. In Japan it is a Buddhist festival known as higan. In the spring it is known as haru no higan . To celebrate I made Botamochi. This is a traditional confectionery made of sweet mochi rice pounded and shaped with a red bean centre . It is traditional to take these with flowers and incense to the graves of ancestors at this time. In the spring the sweets are called Botamochi named after the tree peony botan . In the fall the same sweets are called ohagi named after the clover bush hagi. I covered mine with different toppings matcha,kinako and black sesame . I also made a reverse one with the rice on the inside . Spring is nearly here . ぼたもち (牡丹餅) (おはぎ) 私は春分点のために作った ほぼ春です!

This is how to make your very own ( it takes a little time but is well worth the effort !)

1 cup of Japanese rice

1 cup of mochi rice

plastic wrap

tsubu-an ( bean paste )

toppings  matcha powder,kinako ground black sesame powder

first wash your rice together really well changing the water a few times

place in your rice cooker with water up to level 2 and cook until done

then pound your rice I use the end of a rolling pin until some it’s mashed but still has some grain don’t over pound or it will be to sticky mix it as your pounding in between with your rice paddle so it’s even.

take about 70g of rice if your having rice on the outside and make balls of these in plastic wrap . Flatten each one spreading it out. Measure out balls of bean paste 30g and place in the middle of each flattened out ball ( mould  the rice around the bean paste .

If you want to do a reverse 40g rice and 60g red bean paste .

when they are all done roll them in your chosen topping .

I like to then wrap each one in plastic wrap and freeze them and defrost over night ( great for a bento dessert ) .

 

Blog

Sakura Mochi

It’s Hanami season !
In Japan it is traditional at this time to make Sakura mochi .
Sweet sticky mochi rice with a bean paste filling wrapped In pickled Sakura leaves and topped with a Sakura flower .
The last ones I made I had to make some marzipan leaves as I didn’t have the pickled Sakura ones but I was lucky enough to be sent some by my good friend @violet_1223 so I decided to make some more .
自家製さくら餅 ???

Blog

Ogura Toast

Ogura Toast
Ogura Toast
Ogura Toast
Ogura Toast
Ogura Toast

Good morning
Ogura toast with home made anko,coconut yogurt ( instead of the normal cream) and strawberry flowers . A latte and some grapefruit and orange segments on the side .
Nagoya specialty dish with warm toasted bread, topped with red bean paste is my Japanese-theme breakfast to day.
Have a wonderful day everyone.
Ogura Toast 小倉トースト
自家製のあんこ、イチゴ、ココナッツヨーグルト

Blog, Spring Food

Ichigo Daifuku

I made soft ichigo daifuku Strawberry Daifuku (Strawberry Mochi) いちご大福 Daifuku is a traditional Japanese wagashi . This one is mochi with anko (sweet red bean paste) and strawberry filling. There are many varieties of Daifuku, but it’s the same soft mochi with different fillings . During the spring time, Japanese confectionery shops sells a seasonal daifuku. This one always reminds me of the Sakura season I spent in Kyoto and visiting the beautiful shrines and temples. I’m not very experienced at making these but they taste delicious with a delicate green tea.  Daifuku actually means ( great luck) so wishing you all luck in your life.

To make these delicious treats you will need

40g of shiratama rice flour

60ml water

3 small strawberries

red bean paste

10g of unrefined caster sugar

potato starch ( I like to use one from Hokkaido) ( Toyo potato starch powder )

you will need a plastic microwaveable bowl plastic spatula plastic wrap and a good clean open work service ( it can get a bit messy )

First get a ball of red bean paste in plastic wrap and flatten it out . Put a strawberry in the middle and cover the strawberry with red bean paste . Do this to all three strawberries .

Then mix flour and water in your bowl and add the sugar and mix well.

cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 mins

uncover and mix well

cover and microwave again for a further one min .

cover your service in potato starch and your hands

knead potato starch to make your mochi keep adding potato starch I like to keep a bowl to hand with some in ready . Then when it’s nice and stretchy make three balls .

Then flatten each ball and mould  the mochi around your already read bean paste covered strawberries .

they are ready .

slice with a sharp knife and enjoy like this one with a green tea.