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.
I could not get fresh Yomogi leaves here in London so I used dried Yomogi leaves powder I had brought back from Japan. The Yomogi powder was simply added into rice flour and cooked into a Mochi Rice Cake texture. I spread the green Mochi with Yomogi into a sheet.
‘Tsubu-An’ sweet Azuki bean paste is used as the centre for this sweet and wrapped up with Yomogi Mochi sheet. I piped some ‘Shiro-An’ sweet White Bean Paste on the top of the sweet and placed a small piece of Pink Mochi in ‘Sakura’ Cherry blossom shape in order to give a touch of Spring feeling to the sweet.
This sweet is Free from Gluten, Egg, Dairy and Oil.
The season of single Cherry Blossom must have gone by now but some of the double petal Cherry blossom must be still in full bloom. Enjoy the rest of this best season by viewing beautiful Sakura Cherry Blossom. 🙂