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.
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.
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.
Last year I entered to a Sake recipe competition for which I had to create two Non-Japanese food recipes, one savoury and the other a dessert. To my surprise I went through to the final that was held in London in January. More surprisingly I won second place among 6 finalists. I have posted about this event and what happened to me on that day.
At the end of that event I was given some vouchers. That was great but that was not the main prize. The prize for the second place was “Two Days Certified Sake Sommelier Course” by the Sake Sommelier Academy. Although there are more and more people interested in Japanese alcohol ‘Sake’, the course runs only 2-3 times a year. So I had to wait to attend the course until the next one would be held in London and that was last week. So finally my waiting was over!
Two Days “Certified Sake Sommelier” Course
Selection of Sake
You might know one of the famous very Japanese food ‘Mochi (Rice Cake)‘. We traditionally eat it during New Year’s days (we celebrate for 3 days). ‘Mochi’ is made from sweet glutinous Rice by soaking, steaming & pounding it.
Traditional ‘Mochi-Tsuki’ (Rice cake pounding)
It has become very rare to see the traditional ‘Mochi-tsuki‘ (Rice cake pounding) these days. It’s only seen in some kind of festival. Instead we have an electric Mochi maker for home use and people can make Mochi easily, however, it is still fiddly to go through the process for making small amount of sweets at home.
But there is another type of ‘Mochi’. It’s so much easier to make particularly for a very small amount. It is ‘Shiratama- Dango’.
<Mochi / Shiratama Dango>
Very strong wind was blowing around this week. It was a gale caused by the Storm Imogen on East coast of Britain. We started having extremely mild winter and then suddenly it became wintery winter! Cold and miserable.
On a cold day like today I feel like having something warm and comforting. There is only one thing in my mind. It must be definitely …
‘Zenzai’ with Mango & Matcha ‘Shiratama’
So it is officially Autumn now. Whilst I stayed in Japan I had a chance of eating ‘Kuri Gohan (Rice with Chestnuts)’ twice. It is one of the seasonal food you MUST have in Autumn.
I visited a famous land of ‘Kuri (Chestnut)’. I spotted great looking Chestnuts sold at a tiny train station so I brought some back home.