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.
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.
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
My little Rabbit Hina-ningyou
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.