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Beetrootjuice. This adds a beautiful pink color and extra natural sweetness.
How to Make Sakura Mochi
This recipe is quite easy to make. They’re different from most mochi because you’re using some pieces of whole and broken rice, rather than glutinous rice flour. The broken rice adds texture and structure to the finished mochi.
There are a few ways to make this mochi, based on region. My grandma is from the Kansai region so this recipe uses the Kansai style. The primary difference is in the rice used to make the mochi. The Kansai style sakura mochi is made with dōmyōji-ko, which is sweet glutinous broken rice.
It’s not the easiest to find, but you can easily make it. Simply pulse sweet glutinous rice in a food processor. My grandma uses the microwave method, which is honestly the easiest clean-up as well, but you can also steam your rice until it becomes glutinous and sticky.
Traditionally, pink food colouring is added to give the rice a nice colour. Instead of food coloring, I use beet juice, which does an incredible job. I also added some sakura powder to the beet juice mix to infuse even more sakura flower flavour.
Are Sakura Leaves Edible?
Actually no! Though these mochi get most of their falvour from the sakura leaves, you don’t actually eat the leaves. The flavor seeps into the mochi.
Other Filling Ideas
I like to fill sakura mochi with sweet and nutty red bean paste. However, you can use a different filling if you like. Try sweet white bean filling, or even peanut butter. The choice is yours!
Shaping Red Bean Mochi
Shaping and filing these mochi can be quite tricky. Often to make things a bit easier, people use plastic wrap. But I find that if you keep your hands wet, it’s actually quite easy to work.
The signature look is to wrap your mochi balls with a sakura leaf, vein side up, however, you can also add a fresh sakura blossom on top and skip the sakura leaf.
It’s usually a good idea to let the mochi sit and absorb the leaf flavor for some time before serving.
How to Serve Sakura Mochi
These cute leaf-wrapped mochi are best served fresh. Mochi doesn’t do very well when refrigerated, but if you’re making the mochi ahead of time, you can freeze or refrigerate and then revive them by microwaving.
Sakura mochi with a red bean filling and fresh or preserved sakura leaf are a traditional Japanese treat served during spring time.
1cup sweet glutinous rice
3/4cup filtered water
1 tsp beetroot juice
1/2 tsp sakura powder
2 tsp organic cane sugar
1/4cup red bean paste, chilled
4 pickled sakura leaves
First begin by preparing your rice. Soak your rice overnight in cool water, making sure there’s ample water on top of the rice (so that all grains are covered).
Mix together water, beetroot juice, sakura powder and cane sugar and set aside.
Soak your sakura leaves in warm water and let sit while you work on the rice.
Drain the rice and remove all excess water then transfer to a food processor. Pulse a few times to break down, but avoid pulsing too much. You want coarse, broken rice, but not a flour.
Add the broken rice to a large, microwave safe bowl and add your beetroot water mixture to the bowl. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and microwave for 2 minutes. Mix with a spatula, cover and microwave for another 2 minutes. Rice should be nice and sticky, and you should be able to pull it away from the sides of the bowl with the spatula.
Divide the rice into 4-5 equal parts and using damp hands, roll each piece into balls. Cover with a damp towel when not in use.
To assemble, grab one portion of mochi rice, flatten into a large circle in your hands and scoop about a tablespoon of red bean paste into the center. Fold edges around the center and tightly press so that no red bean paste escapes.
Take a sakura leaf, pat dry and wrap your mochi with the veins and stem facing outwards.
Repeat until all of the rice has been used! Let the mochi sit for about 10-15 minutes to absorb the sakura leaf flavour and enjoy.
Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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