Sasa Mochi with Sweet Kinako (Kinako Mochi Recipe)
The traditional Japanese food, “Mochi (餅)” is a plain rice cake made of glutinous rice called “Mochi Gome (餅米)”.
Mochi is available in various forms and the sweets made with the rice cake or with a texture like a mochi are generally called “Mochi Gashi (餅菓子)“.
Mochi is food often eaten in soups during the wintertime in Japan, but it can actually be enjoyed as Mochigashi throughout the year.
Quite a few regions in Japan have their own unique specialty Mochigashi and the quintessential example includes Niigata’s “Sasa Dango (笹団子)” and Nagano and Gifu Prefectures’ “Gohei Mochi (五平餅)“.
Sasa Dango is a grass-mixed mochi cake, pounded with mugwort called “Yomogi (蓬)”, and sweet red bean paste called “Anko (餡子)” is wrapped in the green rice dough.
In its name, “Sasa (笹)” stands for bamboo leaves which are used as a wrapper for the confection. The bamboo leaf actually has a bactericidal effect and the dumpling Sasa Dango was favored as a portable food in the old days.
Sasa Mochi (笹餅)
Moving on to the main topic, today, I got this Sasa Mochi from my family.
Sasa Mochi is a variant of Sasa Dango, in other words, just a steamed plain mochi wrapped with a bamboo leaf, so I prepared “Kinako (きな粉)” roasted soybean flour for the rice cake.
Since the yellow roasted soybean flour Kinako usually comes in unseasoned, for sweetness, I first added some sugar.
Sasa Mochi can be eaten as it is without additional cooking. Since the bamboo leaf wrapper prevents the mochi inside from drying, the rice cake retains its moisture content and is fresh.
After coating the mochi with the Kinako to make “Kinako Mochi (きな粉餅)”, I enjoyed the rice cake.
Kinako Mochi Recipe
Kinako Mochi is a traditional mochi dish that has long been loved by us Japanese.
Since nowadays it is relatively easy to get mochi and Kinako online outside of Japan, lastly let me explain in detail how Kinako Mochi is prepared.
How to Prepare Kinako
As I mentioned above, the ready-made, store-bought Kinako flour is usually unsweetened, so for sweetness, add a proper amount of sugar and a pinch of salt.
How to Prepare Mochi
As the mochi packs sold online usually come in dried form, first, you need to tenderize the rice cake, then coat it with the sweetened Kinako, like this,
- Bring a pot of plenty of water to a boil
- Once the water boils, turn off the heat and add in a few pieces of mochi.
- Let the rice cakes immerse in the water until soft, about a few minutes
- When they become soft enough, take them out from the pot and coat them with the prepared, sweetened Kinako
- Enjoy Kinako Mochi!
- Note that the cooked mochi is very chewy and sticky, so please be cautious not to choke on it