Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sakuramochi - A Spring Snack for Everyone

When spring is just around the corner, many Japanese people enjoy eating Sakuramochi -a traditional "wagashi" (Japanese confectionary). When visiting Japan in the spring, you may see Sakuramochi in many places. This time, I will offer you with some basic information about Sakuramochi.

A typical Sakuramochi is anko (bean paste) wrapped in dough that is wrapped once again with a brined cherry blossom leaf (as seen on the picture). This confectionary has been eaten since the 1700s and there are two types of them. One is called Chomeiji (Kanto Style) and the other is called Domyoji (Kansai Style).

The differences between the two are the ingredients used to make the mochi's pink dough and its shape. Chomeiji Sakuramochi are made using regular flour and usually shaped like waffles. On the other hand, Domyoji Sakuramochi are made using a special powder called Domyoji powder and shaped like a straw rice bag. Domyoji powder is steamed mochi-gome (sticky rice) that is later dried and ground. It is different from other mochi because of its lumpier texture. In eastern Japan (Kanto Area), Chomeiji Sakuramochi is more familiar to people and is also sold in convenience stores. In western Japan (Kansai Area), people are not familiar with the Chomeiji Sakuramochi and prefer the Domyoji Sakuramochi instead.

Surprisingly, most people do not even know that there are two different types of Sakuramochi. Recently, however, it is not difficult to find a Domyoji-style Sakuramochi in the Kanto area.

Another interesting fact about Sakuramochi that is common in all areas of Japan is the use of brined cherry blossom leaf. Although it is not popular, those who like it say that the saltiness of the cherry blossom leaf complements the sweetness of the anko that is inside. This varies between people, so go ahead and taste one yourself!

Why not enjoy a nice hanami (cherry blossom watching) with a delicious sakuramochi as a snack??

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