Have a great Weekend!
Have a great Weekend!
Winter in Japan is very cold and snowy but once Spring comes all the plants in the field and mountain start to grow rapidly. As you might know already Japanese like to add some seasonal touch into food and it can be a shape or some flavour added to create a taste of the delightful season.
One of the wild Plants we traditionally add into making Mochi is ‘Yomogi’ leaves. It is a type of Mugworts (Artemisia indica var. maximowiczii) and it used to grow anywhere by the road or field. The upper side of leaves is dark green and the lower side is white-ish colour covered with tiny hair like structure. When you mix the leaves into a sweet it gives a dark green colour but what we like the most about using this plant is the very distinctive slightly bitter flavour that it gives. When it’s added to sweet and combined with sweet bean paste the bitterness of the leaves enhances the sweetness of the bean taste and creates the harmony in flavour.
I created this Yomogi Mochi as one of the sweets for having during the ‘Hanami’ Cherry Blossom viewing occasion.
‘London Fog’ by a Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya at Tate Modern.
It’s Easter weekend. In some shops during this season you see many sweets in the Easter theme. They are mainly chocolate in either a rabbit bunny shape or eggs and chicks. I know it is an event for Christian people but I cannot help myself not to think of some Japanese sweet to make for this occasion.
I have made some chicks with Japanese sweet ‘Nerikiri’ before so this year I wanted to make something else. When I was making ‘Hanami-Dango’ (in my previous post) I got the idea of making eggs with the ‘Mochi’ sweet and also some other sweets to compose the nest to place eggs in …
So this is the Japanese sweet I thought for the Easter theme this year.
We are in the middle of the full Cherry Blossom season in London. There is a traditional custom called ‘Hanami’ (‘Hana’ means flower/ blossom and ‘Mi ((Miru))’ means to look/ watch) that people picnic under a cherry tree and enjoy eating & drinking whilst viewing the beauty of Sakura.
We also have a proverb ‘Hana yori Dango’ which means ‘Food comes before Flower (Beauty)’. This describes that although viewing Sakura blossom is enjoyable, it cannot beat the delight of eating delicious food.
There is a sweet during this Sakura season called ‘Hanami-Dango’. It is composed of three balls of a ‘Mochi‘ type sweet in tricolour of Green, White and Pink stuck together with a skewer. But why these colours and why in this order? There seems several theories behind this colour scheme but the one I like is like this. ‘White’ is a symbol of ‘Snow=Winter’, ‘Green’ is the ‘New Leaves’ just about coming out from under the snow and ‘Pink’ is the colour of ‘Sakura=Spring’. So all these colours together explain the season which people have longed for the arrival during the long cold winter.
I made Hanami-Dango with Tofu this year. Why Tofu? You can use water instead but by adding Tofu the Mochi Dango becomes softer and bouncier texture and the softness lasts longer. You can make this in almost the same way as the ‘Shiratama Dango’ I introduced before.
Have a safe and wonderful Weekend, Everybody! (^_-)-☆
Wow, time passes so quickly! It is already April and we are officially in Spring! This winter was so mild in England and spring has arrived early too. I heard that in several areas in Japan the symbol of Spring ‘Sakura’ Cherry Blossom has been flowering slowly this year and still not fully opened, however, it has been flowering everywhere in London. The trees in the park where I live nearby actually lost most of the flowers and leaves are coming out already. Since I was looking forward to seeing beautiful cherry blossom, it is sad that the best season is going so quickly.
Anyway, when this season comes I have to make some sweet in the Sakura theme for April.
So, this is my ‘Sakura’ Cherry Blossom sweet this year.
Have a great Weekend! 😀