Very appreciated in Japan, these cute cakes all round, all soft make their appearance in France. The opportunity to learn more about this little cabbage from Asia.
More than a cake, a lucky charm
In Japanese countries, rice is considered a sacred gift of nature, and it is present on all major occasions. It is offered to gods as well as ancestors in shrines and altars in the form of alcohol(sake), grains, or… mochis. Mochi daifuku (“great happiness” in Japanese) is “the” must-have dessert of the Japanese New Year (oshôgatsu), much like our Christmas log! This sweetness that is part of the vast family of waghasis, these traditional Japanese pastries, also accompanies the green tea ceremony, because its sweet and sweet notes perfectly counterbalance the slight bitterness of a sencha or matcha.
What is the real mochi?
Be careful, no dumpling, varieties of mochis are many, but the most common and popular is mochi daifuku. It is also the oldest of the mochis, and its ancestral recipe has not varied from a grain of rice. The one that must be used precisely is glutinous rice, the mochigome, steamed and then pounded with art and patience (formerly no less than 3 people were working on the task) until it turns into an elastic, supple, and sticky white paste. Cut into discs no wider than the palm of the hand, this dough is then traditionally topped with anko (azuki red bean paste) or sometimes white bean paste (shiroan). So that they do not stick to the fingers, the small balls are often sprinkled with a thin layer of corn, sugar, or cocoa starch. And the other mochis, what do they look like? Among the best known are the Dango mochi, a skewer mounted with 3 small balls of rice paste, the sakura mochi, sweet, tinged with pink and always filled with azuki, and also this red bean soup mixed with pieces of melted rice paste, the zenza, which all Japanese love as dessert.
Strawberry, apricot and ice cream, of various flavors
If the traditional mochi is generally white, depending on the festival and the seasons, it is colored green (it is the yomogi daikufu), pink (the sakura mochi): or brown. Its melting heart also knows some variations. The most popular is to mix strawberries, apricots, or other fruits with red bean paste. In its modern version, mochi is also filled with delicious ice cream. If in Japan the most representative fragrances are matcha tea and red bean, we now find everywhere mochis frozen with lychee, coconut, mango, lime-yuzu, mojito, or more classically vanilla or chocolate. A real delight.
Article published in the Issue Hors Série Femme Actuelle “135 recipes plein soleil” of June 2021
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