Kusa Mochi & Yomogi Mochi: Spring Wagashi Sweets
It is getting warmer and warmer day by day here in Niigata, Japan.
And today, I stopped by a supermarket and bought a traditional Wagashi confection representing Japan’s springtime.
The package consists of two varieties of Wagashi rice cakes, Mitarashi Dango Mochi (みたらし団子餅) and Kusa Mochi (草もち).
And the latter Mochi sweet, Kusa Mochi (草もち), is associated with the fresh verdure of the spring.
Kusa Mochi & Yomogi Mochi
In the name of Kusa Mochi (草もち), Kusa (草) means grass, while Mochi (もち/餅) refers to a Japanese glutinous rice cake.
So the green color of the sweet treat comes from grass mixed with its rice dough, and the custom of eating Kusa Mochi came from China over 1100 years ago.
In ancient times, the Mochi got its green hue from Jersey cudweed, a species of cottonweed, but today, the confection usually uses Yomogi, called Yomogi Mochi (よもぎ餅).
Yomogi (蓬/よもぎ) is the word for mugwort in English, and this Kusa Mochi is a Yomogi Mochi kneaded with Japanese mugwort leaves from the Shinshu region around Nagano.
Yomogi Mochi comes in two types. One consists of a mugwort-colored chewy and sweet rice cake, typically coated with Kinako roasted soy flour. What I have on hand belongs to this type.
The other type is a mugwort-colored chewy rice cake filled with sweet red bean paste or Anko (餡子), as shown in the photo above.
These Mochi treats were delicious, and I enjoyed them to my heart’s content.
But before finishing writing, let’s see the ingredients used in the green Kusa Mochi or Yomogi Mochi rice cake.
|Maltose, Sugar, Mochiko (glutinous rice flour), Starch syrup, Yomogi mugwort, Kinako (roasted soybean flour), Black sesame seeds, Trehalose, Emulsifier, pH adjuster|
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 草餅 )