Sakura mochi is a kind of traditional Japanese sweet or wagashi that is enjoyed during the spring. It is usually sold from the first day of spring (according to the traditional lunisolar calendar, around February 3rd) until the end of April (when all cherry blossom finish blooming).
There are two kinds of Sakura mochi in Japan, which are known as the Kanto and Kansai styles. We will introduce both styles to you, but in this recipe, we are specifically introducing the Kanto-style of sakura mochi.
The Kanto-style of sakura mochi is comprised of a pink piece of crepe-like mochi which is filled with red bean paste, and wrapped in a salted sakura leaf. The texture of the mochi is soft, while still having a little bit of a chew, and the aroma of this wagashi resembles the fragrance of real sakura.
Kanto-style sakura mochi is also called Chomeiji (The name of a famous temple in Tokyo). It earned this name because in 1717, Shinroku Yamamoto, the founder of a Japanese sweet confectionery shop, started selling sakura mochi in front of this temple. This store still exists and continues to sell the same sakura mochi as from 300 years ago.
For making sakura mochi, usually smooth red bean paste (anko) or koshi-an is used, and we recommend using it for our recipe too. The texture of smooth anko matches perfectly with the soft and chewy mochi dough. The use of pickled sakura leaves also gives this sweet a bit of saltiness, which makes sakura mochi have a balanced sweet and salty flavor.
In our recipe, we are mixing all-purpose flour with Shiratamako glutinous rice flour to achieve sakura mochi’s chewy texture. We are also using real salted sakura leaves, which can be purchased online. When eating sakura mochi, you can eat the leaf or choose to remove it before eating. Even if you remove the leaf, you will still be able to enjoy the aroma of cherry blossoms. However, if you remove the leaf, it may dry the mochi up.
We will also be using an electric griddle to make the mochi, but you can also use a normal frypan. Just be sure that the pan you use is non-stick and to maintain a low heat when cooking the mochi.
We hope that you’ll enjoy the beauty of spring with our Kanto-style sakura mochi recipe.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Total servings: 10
- 80g All Purpose Flour
- 15g Shiratamako (Glutinous Rice Powder)
- 60g Sugar
- 120ml Water
- 200g Smooth Red Bean Paste (divided into 10 equal portions)
- 10 Salted Sakura Leaves
- Cooking Oil (as needed)
- Red Food Coloring (Liquid, Gel, or Powder are OK)
This glutinous rice flour is made by extracting the starch in glutinous rice. Mixing it with all-purpose flour gives Kanto-style sakura mochi its signature chewy texture. The flour itself also has a unique sweetness from the glutinous rice grains too, which works really well in the mochi dough.
1) Gathering the Ingredients
Gather the ingredients together. Makes sure to soak the salted sakura leaves in a bowl of cold water for at least 10 minutes to get rid of the excess salt.
2) Making the Mochi Dough
Add Shiratama flour into a bowl, then add water little by little while simultaneously crushing the Shiratama flour with your fingers. Make sure that there are no lumps, then add in the rest of the water and mix the dough with a whisk. You should end up with a thin and smooth batter.
3) Letting the Dough Rest
Finish making the mochi dough by adding the sugar and all-purpose flour and mixing it with a whisk until it becomes smooth. Once it is smooth, strain the mixture into another bowl to ensure that there are no lumps.
Cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4) Coloring the Mochi Dough
Add a little bit of red food coloring to the dough. To avoid coloring the dough too much, add only one drop of color into the dough and then mix. Repeat this step until you reach the desired color.
Note: The goal is to achieve a pale pink color.
5) Cooking the Mochi Dough
Heat the electric griddle on low heat (120C to 140C: 248F to 284F) and grease it with cooking oil using a paper towel or brush. Alternatively, you can also use a non-stick frying pan and heat it on low heat.
Begin pouring the mochi dough into the pan with a ladle, turning them into small crepes. Spread each mochi into ~6 x 13cm pieces.
6) Finishing Cooking the Mochi Dough
When the surface of the mochi becomes dry, carefully flip it and cook the other side for about 10 to 20 seconds. Be careful not to burn the dough.
Note: The mochi dough will begin turning dry quite quickly, so be sure to carefully watch it and don't walk away.
7) Rolling the Sakura Mochi
Once the dough has cooled down, wrap it around the portioned red bean paste. Then, wrap a sakura leaf around it.
Note: For ideal presentation, the middle of the leaf should be on the outside of the mochi.
8) Serving Sakura Mochi
Eating the sakura mochi right away is best because they will dry out quite fast. The aroma of the sakura leaves will also weaken after a while. We recommend consuming them within 1-2 days.
You can also freeze sakura mochi by wrapping them one by one in plastic wrap and storing them in the freezer for up to one month. Before you want to eat them, be sure to thaw them in the refrigerator for 2 hours.