Sakura Mochi, Happiness to the Spring Perfume
What are Sakura Mochi?
We continue our journey to discover the delicacies of Japan. Today we will talk about a delicious dessert, available in Japan directly in supermarkets and restaurants, chosen and appreciated also during festivals and street food. Sakura Mochi is a typical dessert based on rice and azuki sweetened sauce, all covered with a salted cherry leaf. We have already talked about azuki on other occasions but, we remember it, they are particular Japanese red beans, used in a very versatile way and even in desserts, as in this case.
The flavour of the Sakura Mochi is mainly sweet and pasty. This characteristic makes these preparations particularly appreciated by children but also by adults who have a weakness for sugar and its derivatives! The peculiarity of this dessert is that of combining two apparently opposite sensations of taste, such as the dolce (of the azuki) and the salty (the cherry leaf).
A Zen union between sweet and salty
The tasting of the Sakura Mochi, on closer inspection, is the result of a concept we would dare say "philosophical". Why combine sweet and salty? Because I also infuse reality itself, that is the result of the symbiotic union of contrasts. At the basis of Japanese aesthetics, culture and religion, there is precisely a Zen awareness, or rather a world of opposites which an attempt is made to oppose an ascetic union.
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According to this idea, as then happens in the preparation of the Sakura Mochi, the opposites are nothing but two aspects of the same thing. Deepening the knowledge of Japanese culture it will often happen to review this concept applied, in dishes whose ingredients would seem to have opposite flavours but which together form an extraordinary taste.
How do you prepare the Sakura Mochi?
Sakura Mochi is often composed in a colourful and floral way. This is possible thanks to the juxtaposition of white mochi with pink mochi and the filling inside. Once the various doughs are prepared for dessert, manual skill comes into play. Composing these sweets in the shape of a flower is a real art, sometimes appreciated during the holidays in Japan. There is the enchantment!
The artisan pastry chef, after composing the different layers, joins them to form a sphere. The flower shape is obtained by pressing the folds, with the help of the sticks, in as many places as there are petals.
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