I miss standing under the beautiful cherry blossoms and look forward to being back in Japan. With the cherry blossom season right around the corner, I am sure many of us are feeling a little down from missing this year's cherry blossoms viewing. However, why not brighten your week by learning how to prepare some of the Japanese snacks commonly eaten during this special season.
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Sakura Rice Ball
A perfect way to include this special seasonal Japanese ingredient is in an all-time Japanese favourite - a rice ball. Japanese rice balls or onigiris are one of the best-selling food in Japanese convenience stores. They are extremely easy to make it at home and the best part, they are easily customizable according to your preferences.
- 2 servings Japanese rice (Akita Prefecture Akita Komachi Rice)
- salt pickled cherry blossoms
- 30ml Mitsukan Sushi Vinegar (optional)
- salt to taste
- Cook rice as usual. Remove the rice and add in sushi vinegar.
- Mix well and let it cool slightly.
- Rinse the pickled cherry blossoms in warm water to remove excess salt.
- Gently wet your hands and sprinkle some salt on your palm.
- Place about 2 tablespoons of warm sushi rice into your hands, mold it into a rice ball.
- Press 1 pickled cherry blossom on top of the rice ball as decoration.
- Continue making rice balls till there is no rice left. Serve.
Sakura mochi is a type of wagashi (Japanese confection) consisting of a sweet, coloured mochi with a red bean paste centre, wrapped in a pickled cherry blossom leaf. Traditionally eaten during the spring, especially during hinamatsuri (Girl's Day) and hanami (cherry blossom viewing party). Sakura mochi differs from one region to another.
- 75g coarse rice flour
- 70g sugar
- 200ml hot water
- powdered red food colouring, dissolved in a small amount of water
- preserved cherry blossom leaves
- 130g red bean paste
- Place the cherry blossom leaves in a bowl of water for about 1 hour before cooking to remove extra salt.
- Dissolve sugar in 200ml of hot water. Add food colouring into the sugar water.
- Place the rice flour in a bowl and pour in the sugar water. Mix well.
- Cover the mixture and let it sit for 1-2 hours.
- Once it has become dough-like, flatten the mochi dough and cut it into circles.
- Place a ball of red bean paste in the entre of each circle, bring the two ends of the dough together then close the mochi dough.
- Wrap each mochi ball with a preserved cherry blossom leaf.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy salted cherry blossoms would be to brew them in tea. Once the tea is ready, the tea would turn a light pinkish hue and there would be a subtle floral fragrance to the tea. Also, you get to watch the cherry blossoms 'bloom' in water. Be warned the tea would also be slightly salty and might need some time to get used to.
- Hot Water
- 2-3 pickled cherry blossom flowers
- Gently wipe off some salt off cherry blossom flowers
- Put flowers into a cup,
- Pour hot water and let it steep for about 1 minute or so.
- Ready to serve.
20% OFF iichiko Mugi Shochu Sakura Label
Enjoy spring with these delicious recipes with this season's special iichiko Mugi Shochu. The sakura label is only produced during the sakura season and it is a good companion for any time of the day. Pair it with your sakura recipes for a perfect tea-time pairing.
Thinking of getting a bottle for yourself? Good news, get our iichiko Sakura Bundle is now at 20% OFF with the promo code <SAKURA20> 🌸
Promotion valid while stocks last, T&Cs apply.