Kashiwa Mochi: Wagashi Sweets for Children’s Day
“Mochi (餅)” is a traditional Japanese food made of glutinous rice “Mochi-Gome (餅米)” that has been steamed and pounded.
The cooked rice cake has strong stickiness and chewiness, and in Japan, it is often used as the main ingredient for traditional Japanese confections “Wagashi (和菓子)”.
And when I think of Mochi treats that represent this season, the first thing that comes to my mind is “Kashiwa Mochi (柏餅)”.
Kashiwa Mochi (柏餅)
Kashiwa Mochi is a type of Wagashi that is prepared for “Tango no Sekku (端午の節句)”, often referred to as Children’s Day in English-speaking countries, which is the Boys’ Festival annually held on May 5.
The soft rice dough of Kashiwa Mochi is actually made from a non-glutinous rice powder called “Joushinko (上新粉)” and folded in two, between which sweet red bean paste “Anko (餡子)” is filled.
By the way, the reason why the Mochi confection is called Kashiwa Mochi is that the Mochi is wrapped with the leaf of an oak called “Kashiwa (柏)”.
As for history, the origin of Kashiwa Mochi is said to date back to the 18th century when Tokugawa Shogun families ruled Japan.
At the time, a Mochi confection came to be wrapped in a Kashiwa leaf which was prepared as a lucky charm for the prosperity of descendants.
Old Kashiwa leaves flutter down after new burgeons have roots in the tree, and that inspired the idea that “Family line never fails”.
That’s why, since then, Kashiwa Mochi has been prepared and eaten on May 5 in Japan, the national holiday to celebrate and wish for boys’ healthy growth and happiness.
Many people eat the leaf wrapper for Sakura Mochi because the cherry tree leaf is picked in salt and edible, but we don’t eat the oak leaf wrapper for Kashiwa Mochi simply because it can’t be eaten.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 柏餅 )