Saturday, March 24, 2012


Tokara (above)
Umai-do (below)

akuramochi is named for the pale pink blossoms of the cherry tree, and like those blossoms is only around for a short time each spring.

In Japan, there are two regional variations on sakuramochi. Both types have a core of smooth koshian red bean paste and are wrapped in a brined cherry leaf, but the middle layer differs.
In the Kanto region around Tokyo, the bean paste is rolled in a tiny pancake made from pink-tinted rice flour. In the Kansai region (which includes Kyoto), the bean paste is enveloped in a ball of mochi rice dough, often made from dōmyōji-ko a "chunky" glutinous rice flour that originated at Osaka's Dōmyōji Temple; the dōmyōji-ko gives the mochi the ruffled appearance of a cluster of breeze-tossed petals.

Our Seattle wagashi makers are hewing more closely to the Kansai style. Tokara (above) makes a classic sakuramochi, with meltingly smooth koshian encased in a chewy dōmyōji pillow and jacketed in a zingy, tender leaf. At Umai-do (below), there's a homier version, with the shop's own flavorful bean paste and smooth, elastic mochi made from more widely available mochiko glutinous rice flour rather than dōmyōji-ko: a new "Seattle" style?

1 comment:

mucuna said...

I have been reading your blog for a few years now. Thank you for all the infos. particularly on higashi. I recently came back from Japan on a 2 week trip of collecting higashi and learning yuzen in Kyoto. I visited some of the shops you have been to. It seemed little have changed, time kind of stands still for places like those.
I asked Toraya to make some special Oshimono.
This is my blog with a lot of photos of the higashi I carried back to Vancouver.