The 3rd of March is Girls’ Day in Japan. It is called ‘Hina Matsuri‘ or ‘Momo no Sekku‘ and we celebrate girls’ health and growth (Don’t worry we have Boys’ Day as well). This day we decorate ‘Hina Ningyou‘, the dolls of a princess and a prince or even with lots of their servants and music players on red carpeted shelved space, with Plum blossoms in a room.
My Hina Ningyou are Rabbits. I brought them when I came to England. They are very small and cute.
There is certain food we eat on the day that is all pretty and beautiful for girls of course. Main meal is definitely ‘Chirashi-zushi‘ which is Sushi rice served with colourful fish, vegetable and egg on top. We also have a clear soup with ‘Hamaguri‘ Big Clam.
One of the typical sweets for this day is ‘Hishi-mochi‘ which is Rice cake in a diamond shape in tricolours of pink, white and green). ‘Hina arare‘ (pastel coloured Rice crackers) and lots of sweets in flower shape & colours are often had as well. The girls have a drink called ‘Amazake‘ which is sweet Sake. Yes, it is a kind of Sake. Although there is alcoholic Amazake but normally we have sweet sake without alcohol, so young girls can have it on this Hinamatsuri.
I have been thinking what I should make for this day and wanted to try something new for me. And then one idea stuck in my mind so … here it is.
As I mentioned we traditionally eat ‘Hishi-moch’ which is tri-coloured rice cake made into a diamond shape (‘Hishi‘ means a diamond shape). Instead of piling up three layers of Mochi I wanted to combine different texture. What came to my mind was ‘Ukishima’. It is a very soft and moist cake like Japanese sweet which is free from gluten and dairy. It must go well with Mochi, rice cake.
The result was that I think it went well but I’m not sure if it was completely successful. In my first attempt I steamed all the layers together in one container. I steamed long enough, however, the bottom Ukishima dough seemed to not cook enough. I believe the Mochi layer did not penetrate the heat down to the bottom layer. So on the second attempt I had to steam it twice.
When you eat it the combination of the texture is good, however, the Mochi layer was difficult to cut cleanly so that it does not have sharp diamond shape. Also because I wanted it in a very light pastel colour the pink colour was too pale and became a bit more like salmon pink.
Anyway, these are my ‘Hishi-Mochi Ukishima’ for Hinamatsuri this year.
There is a saying that you should pack the Hina-ningyou as soon as Hinamatsuri ends otherwise the girl will marry very late … whatever. Thank you, my Hina Rabbits. Enjoy the Girls’ Day and good-bye soon until next year. 🙂