May 5th may be associated with Cinco de Mayo for many people, but here in Japan we celebrate Kodomo no hi, or Children's Day. It's a national holiday to celebrate the healthy growth of children. Although this includes both boys and girls, it's traditionally a day to celebrate the health and happiness of boys, while Hinamatsuri, or Girl's Day, celebrates the happiness of girls.
One of the ways people celebrate Kodomo no
Kashiwa leaves don't fall in the cold winter, but only when the new leaves come out, representing a flow from one generation to the next, and the prosperity of the descendants.
The kashiwa leaves are sold either dried or vacuum packed. The dried leaves have to be rehydrated by boiling them in hot water, but vacuum packed leaves just need to be rinsed with water and pat dry with a paper towel. Set it aside to use later.
In a bowl, mix the
Slowly add the water and stir until it forms a thick paste.
Line your steamer with a cheesecloth or parchment paper and put the paste inside. Cover and steam for 20 minutes.
While you're waiting for the mochi to cook, divide your sweet red bean paste into 8 and roll them into balls. Like the rice flour, you should be able to find this in an Asian market. I used store-bought in my recipe, but you can also make it yourself. You can control the thickness and sweetness of the paste if it's homemade, but I wanted this to be quick and easy.
When the mochi is finished steaming, take it out and knead it until it comes together in a ball. You can wear rubber gloves, use a damp tea towel, or keep dipping your hands in ice water to avoid burning yourself. Divide the mochi into 8 equal pieces.
Dust your surface and hands with potato starch or cornstarch and flatten a piece of mochi into an oval.
Put a ball of red bean paste in the center, and wrap it with the mochi. Make sure the sides are completely sealed.
Place the mochi on the shiny side of the kashiwa leaf and fold the leaf over.
I lined the steamer with parchment paper and put the cheesecloth under the lid to prevent water dripping onto the mochi.
This is one of my favorite Japanese desserts! Although the classic shape of kashiwa mochi is a clam-like semi circle, you could make them any shape you like! You can even skip the kashiwa leaves, and use some parchment paper to avoid them from sticking to each other while steaming.
You could also dust these with some kinako for a twist in flavor!
- 1½ cup + 8 teaspoons (260g) joshinko rice flour (上新粉)
- ¼ cup + 2 teaspoon (40g) mochi flour (もち粉)
- 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoons (40g) granulated sugar
- 1¼ cup (300ml) water
- 19 oz (540g) red bean paste
- potato starch or corn starch
- 16 kashiwa leaves, dried or vacuum packed
- Prepare the kashiwa leaves. If using dried leaves, rehydrate them in water. If using vacuum packed leaves, rinse them with water and pat dry with a paper towel. Set it aside to use later.
- In a bowl, mix the joshinko rice flour, mochi flour, and sugar. Slowly pour the water and stir until it forms a paste.
- Line a steamer with parchment paper or cheesecloth, and put the paste inside. Steam for 20 minutes.
- While waiting for the mochi, divide and roll the red bean paste into 8 equal balls.
- Take the mochi out of the steamer and knead until it forms a ball. Divide into 8 equal pieces.
- Take one piece of mochi and flatten it out into an oval. Place a red bean paste ball in the center and wrap it with the mochi. Make sure the sides are completely sealed.
- Place each mochi on the shiny side of the kashiwa leaf and fold the leaf over the mochi. Put them back in the steamer for an additional 5 minutes. Let them cool completely before eating.