It is a phenomenon to me that there are so many western people who likes ‘Mochi’ these days. Mochi is Rice Cake and usually we make it by pounding glutinous sweet rice. When I looked back at the time when I started making Japanese food and sweet to friends in England many years ago, everybody disliked Mochi. It could be to do with the gooey texture or quite blank taste I don’t know, but even when Mochi was hot or cold, sweet or savoury it didn’t go well. However, now so many people like it or even love Mochi!
I have introduced you Clementine Daifuku two weeks ago. It is a very good version of fruity ‘Mochi’ type sweet. Mochi goes well with Sweet Bean Paste and fresh Fruit. But the most known fruity Mochi sweet is this Strawberry Daifuku.
This is ‘Clementine Daifuku’. Daifuku is a ‘Mochi’ type Japanese Sweet and usually filled with Sweet Bean Paste inside the Mochi outer layer. However, the combination of it with additional fruit is great and ‘Ichigo Daifuku’, the one with strawberry, is very tasty and hugely popular. I had seen someone was making Daifuku with tangerine and wanted to try making it myself.
I made some of these Japanese Sweets with Orange coloured Mochi outer layer and some with white one (natural Mochi colour). It was not that unusual if I left the white sweet as it was, but when I placed the green part on top it looked something so unknown. It made me think it could be a round white aubergine or … what? That was how the ‘Guess What this Sweet’ Quiz started in my previous post.
I made this. It is a sweet. It’s a kind of Japanese Sweet. Can you guess what it is?
Clue: Something juicy is hidden inside.
It will be a great dessert!
Any idea what kind of sweet it is?
Today is Mother’s Day in the UK as well as some countries like Nigeria, Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man. Lots of flowers and sweets are displayed at the entrance of all the super markets as the suggestion of the gifts to mothers here in London now. OK, I got the idea! Flowers and sweets must be the best gifts for mothers, so I combined them together!
💐 Happy Mothere’s Day, Everyone! 💐
Now officially it is spring in the UK. Which means Sakura season has started. Sakura is a Japanese word for Cherry tree and also Cherry Blossom. People in Japan love Cherry blossoms and go crazy when this season starts or even before when the season comes nearer. I mentioned about our tradition in Sakura season three years ago on this blog so if you are interested about the custom please read my old post.
As well as our traditional Cherry Blossom viewing ‘Hanami’ we like to eat all sorts of food which is in flavour or shape of Sakura blossom. There are many ways to produce Sakura related sweets and I will try making several different types in this season.
Sakura sweet in Japanese Crêpe style (with recipe)
This is a baked type Sakura sweet in crêpe style.
Today, the 17th of March is St. Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick was the foremost patron saint of Ireland and his death on this date is traditionally a festival day for the Irish community.
The famous symbol of Ireland is a Shamrock so lots of people wear something green on them. I have seen places where people even coloured the river green for this day (which I’m a little against the idea). However, do you really know what a shamrock looks like? I made two types of Japanese sweets for this St. Patrick’s Day that look quite similar but slightly different. So, tell me which one you think is a Shamrock.
You might have seen many photos of Mimosa flowers last week and wondered why these flowers now? It was because the 8th of March was the Mimosa Day. Actually it was the International Women’s Day and the flower is the symbol of the day. I was not planning to make any sweets that day but when I heard it was the “Women’s” Day I thought I had to do something to celebrate particularly for this day. I made some sweets with a Mimosa design but I could not take photos quickly enough for posting to my Blog here in time on the Wemen’s Day. However, as I believe “being late is better than never”, so here it is.
As soon as I had Mimosa’s image in my mind I got some idea. I tried making these three types.
The image in my mind was lots of fluffy tiny yellow pompoms on the tips of every branches that reach out with the blue sky as the background.
When I come back from Japan my suitcase is always full, actually too full and overloaded which means sometimes I have to remove some stuff from it. It’s normally filled with Sencha green tea, sweets and some other Japanese food that are either difficult to find or too expensive in London. However, when I returned this time in February there were something different I brought back in my luggage.
They were my brand new tools for making Japanese sweets. Now I am back in London and started creating Japanese sweets. I could not wait to see if I could use them properly. I have seen that many professional sweets makers were producing beautiful sweets by using the same tools and could not wait to try out how I can use this.
This sweet is the very first trial I made as a practise, so it is far from the perfection. I realised that controlling the grip of the tool is the key to producing a great result and I need a lot of practice. One of the petals came off by cutting too deep, but I am quite pleased to see the outcome as this was my first attempt. I don’t know how it looks to you but I hope you can see this as the shape of Chrysanthemum or some kind of flower. I am going to carry on practising and hopefully I can show you the great result of a Chrysanthemum by this autumn.
It was ‘Hinamatsuri’ the Girl’s Day yesterday. I have mentioned about the Japanese culture of praying for the good health and happiness of girls on the 3rd of March on my previous post. We decorate our home with Hina Dolls of Emperor and Empress as well as some other figures on red carpeted shelves, that are between five to seven shelves (or even more) traditionally. I created some sweets in shapes of the dolls in the past. On this day we don’t just decorate but also eat a sweet called ‘Hishimochi’ which means diamond-shaped Mochi which I also have created it once before.
There is one sweet that people particularly in the Kyoto area eat for the Girl’s Day but I was not familiar with it until recently. The sweets are called ‘Hichigiri’. I heard that this sweet was born in the palace in the old time in probably the Heian period. People needed to make many Mochi to serve so many guests that they were too busy to roll up each Mochi piece into a ball shape. Then they just pulled small pieces and left the pulled shape as it was. If you understand ‘Kanji’ (Chinese) character you know Hichigiri (引千切) means literally ‘pull and cut into a thousand’. I could imagine that the Palace kitchen was so busy.😆
So this year I tried creating these sweets for Hinamatsuri.
We are in March now and going to have one of the Japanese customs tomorrow on the 3rd of March. It is Girl’s Day called ‘Hinamatsuri’ and we pray for the health and happiness of girls by decorating special Hina Dolls in our houses on the day. This day is also called ‘Momo no Sekku’ which means Peach Festival and we place peach flower in a room or eat peach fruit or peach flower shaped sweets. I have created some sweets in a shape of Hina dolls in the past but I made a simple dessert for the coming event this year.
Momo-Mochi Matcha Zenzai
I created ‘Momo’ (Peach) flower shape in a bowl and had it with Matcha tea in ‘Zenzai’ style. Zenzai is a sweet soup type dessert that we normally make with sweet Azuki (Red) bean paste during a cold season. I created this Matcha version to make it suitable for spring. It is very easy to make at home so I am going to share how to prepare this dessert.