To celebrate the coming Sakura season and the launch of my spring recipe card. I have taken a wagashi which is a speciality of Akita prefecture called Butter Mochi and made it vegan.
The Mochi uses glutinous rice flour, vegan butter and soy milk to make a wagashi that it not only soft and chewy with a delicious creamy taste, but will last covered in the fridge for a few days.
I made these seasonal using Sakura flowers but you can just as easily omit them and add maybe matcha or Yomogi powder instead. They are perfect to make for hanami season. You could try making these and enjoy eating them under a cherry blossom tree for that Japanese feeling that we all are missing right now.
First you need (if using ) to prepare one tablespoon of Sakura flowers in advance around (five flowers). Wash off the salt and blot them between paper towel and dry them out. When they are dry grind them into a powder using a suribachi (pestle and mortar) or a coffee grinder if you have one. (Don’t worry you can omit this part if you wish and just use Sakura flowers for decoration for which you will need to wash and blot dry on kitchen towel nine Sakura flowers)
Line a small container around 4-5 inch square with parchment paper. I used a sandwich box.
You will then need :
100grms of glutinous rice flour ( the kind for making Dango like Shiratamako or Mochiko )
90grms of unrefined caster sugar
1 cup of soy milk
45grms of room temperature vegan butter cut into squares (I used Naturli Vegan Block)
1 teaspoon of natural pink food colouring . I used beetroot juice. Plus an optional dash of flavouring of umesu plum vinegar.
Red bean paste of choice tsubuan or koshian
Potato starch for dusting
Add your glutinous rice flour to a microwaveable bowl, add to this your sugar and mix, then add your soy milk mixing until smooth. Add your colouring and Sakura powder if using and mix. Place in a microwave for 2 minutes. My microwave is 800watts so if yours is less add more time. Take the bowl out of the microwave and add your butter, stirring until it has all melted. Place your bowl back in the microwave and cook again for 3 minutes. Remove and beat the Mochi with a wooden spoon or spatula until it becomes sticky and translucent. Wait for it to cool a little and tip it into your parchment prepared container. Add your Sakura flowers if using pressed into the mochi, then place in the fridge for an hour to firm up a little. Take the container out the fridge and lift the Mochi out of the container using the parchment paper.
Dust a knife with potato starch and cut into equal squares.
Roll nine small balls of bean paste then take each square with potato starch dusted hands and tip upside down placing a ball in the middle.
Fold the edges round over the bean paste and place on a plate.
Carry on doing this with the rest of the cut mochi.
If you want to make Matcha or Yomogi Daifuku instead add a tablespoon of this to your flour at the beginning.
Keep in the fridge in a container they will be good for a few days, if they last that long.
If you would like to purchase salted pickled Sakura flowers I have limited quantities with my Hanami recipe card this month.
Let’s enjoy the taste of Japanese spring time.
Happy Springtime Happy Hanami !