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 !