Wagashi: What is Kusa Daifuku (草大福)?
Some Wagashi (和菓子) traditional Japanese confections remind us of the fresh verdure of the spring, which include this Kusa Daifuku (草大福).
Kusa Daifuku (草大福)
Kusa Daifuku (草大福) is a variant of Daifuku (大福), also known as Daifuku Mochi (大福餅).
Daifuku or Daifuku Mochi is a representative type of Wagashi consisting of Anko (餡子) red bean paste wrapped in a Mochi-like Gyuhi.
The Anko filling in Daifuku is usually Koshi-An (こし餡: smooth sweet red bean paste) or Tsubu-An (つぶ餡: chunky sweet red bean paste).
Meanwhile, Gyuhi (求肥) is an ingredient indispensable for Wagashi, which is soft, chewy, and stretchy, similar to Mochi rice cake.
Gyuhi consists of glutinous rice flour heated and kneaded with sugar and starch syrup, and unlike pounded Mochi, it remains soft even in cold temperatures.
As Gyuhi is sticky, like Mochi, the surface of Daifuku has a coating of white starch flour (from rice, potato, or corn), which prevents your hands from sticking to the dough.
Meaning of Kusa (草)
The literal meaning of Kusa (草) in Japanese is grass, but the Kusa used in the names of Wagashi confections usually refers to Yomogi (蓬) or mugwort.
So Kusa Daifuku has another name Yomogi Daifuku, and their Gyuhi wrapper contains a herb made from the leaves of the Japanese mugwort plant.
And that is why the rice cake is green, associated with the fresh verdure of the spring.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 大福 )