Mochi Dango

As a part of the story of ‘Hanami’ (Cherry Blossom viewing) I have introduced a sweet called ‘Hanami-Dango’ in April. It is a tri-coloured Mochi on a skewer which is a traditional and popular sweet in Japan. Yes, it is a tradition that Hanami-Dango is composed of three balls in green, white and pink colours. I also explained why it has to be in those colours and why in that order. However, It is my nature to try arranging things to create something different and Dango is no exception so I made un-traditional Dango.

Mochi Dango

This is Mochi Dango with two types of Mochi and toppings.

Mochi Dango

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Kabuto – the Samurai Helmet

The month of May has just started. The biggest event in this month is on the 5th which is called ‘Kodomo-no-Hi’ the Children’s Day. It is the day we celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of children and do some ceremonies or eat some special food on this day. I have introduced some of the traditions we do last year over two posts.

Kabuto 4Last year I made two sweets in this Kodomo-no-Hi theme. One is ‘Koinobori’ the Carp and the other one is ‘Shobu’ the Iris and I wanted to make something different this year.  I got an idea from some object we make with Origami. The photo on the right side is the thing  I used as the base design. I hope you can guess what it is.

It is a ‘Kabuto’ the Samurai Helmet made with Origami.

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‘Kabuto’ the Samurai Helmet

So for this year’s Children’s Day I made ‘Kabuto’ the Samurai Helmet in Origami style with Japanese sweet ‘Nerikiri’.

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Yomogi Mochi

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.

Yomogi

Yomogi

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.

Yomogi Mochi

I created this Yomogi Mochi as one of the sweets for having during the ‘Hanami’ Cherry Blossom viewing occasion.

Yomogi Mochi4

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Easter Mochi Eggs & Cinnamon Nest

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 …

Easter Mochi Eggs & Yatsuhashi Nest

So this is the Japanese sweet I thought for the Easter theme this year.

Easter eggs.2

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Hanami-Dango for viewing Sakura Cherry Blossom

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The Cherry tree for fruit in my garden is in full bloom too

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.

Hanami-Dango

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.

Hanami-dango2

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🌸 Sakura, Sakura 🌸

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.

Sakura/ Cherry Blossom

So, this is my ‘Sakura’ Cherry Blossom sweet this year.

Sakura 6

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‘Momo-no-Hana’ Mochi

I feel the sky looks brighter these days. The atmosphere is lighter and the air is warmer. I sense that the spring is coming nearer day by day. I even feel birds’ song sounds so much more cheerful. Maybe they are happy that spring is just around the corner.

Peach flowersAbout two weeks ago I posted that the 3rd of March was the Girls’ Day in Japan. The symbol of the Girls’ day is ‘Momo-no-Hana‘ Peach Flower, and this flower is also the sign for the arrival of spring. I made a Japanese sweet inspired by Peach flower for this month.

 

‘Momo-no-Hana’ (Peach Flower) Mochi

Momo no Hana Mochi 6-22

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Hina-Doll sweet for the Girl’s Day

It is the Girl’s Day ‘Hina-Matsuri’ today the 3rd of March. For a few weeks until this day in Japan we place a set of dolls called ‘Hina-Ningyo’ in a room and celebrate the healthy growth and happiness of girls.

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from Wikipedia (Hinamatsuri)

There are many different scales in Hina-Ningyo and some gorgeous one is composed of several shelves with a red cloth on top and each shelf is decorated with either some figures or ornaments. The most important part of this is the very top shelf where a male and a female figures are placed. They are the Emperor and the Empress.

There are several sweets that are traditionally only for this occasion. One of them is a diamond shaped sweet in tri-colours of pink, white and green called ‘Hishi-mochi’. Last year I created Hishi-moch with a type of Japanese sweet called ‘Ukishima’ but this year I made the Hina-dolls too.

Hina-Ningyo/Hina-Dolls the Sweet

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