Let’s make the most basic wagashi (Japanese sweet) and probably one of the most ancient. O-hagi, ohagi, hagimochi. O is a sort of prefix-article often used for food, you can omit it sometimes. Hagi is a purple clover flower, abundant in Autumn… well now.
So it’s an Autumn sweet… that is eaten year round, they change the name and shape slightly.
For the most basic, you need only 3 ingredients :
-mochi-gome (sticky rice)
-sugar, or honey, or syrup
Sugar was not a commodity in old times, and it’s possible non-sweetened versions existed. This wagashi is one of the less sweetened.
For a dozen (hand palm size), you need 1 cup (200ml) of uncooked rice and 1/2 cup (200 ml) of uncooked beans. Sugar, as you like…
A photo of the sticky rice, and the same next to normal rice. It’s a different cultivar. That’s not impossible to make your ohagi with normal rice, but taste will not be so sweet and texture is probably more difficult to work. As sticky rice is a little long to cook, many recipes mix 1/3 of uruchi (regular Japanica) rice and 2/3 of mochigome sticky rice, in order to cook it in the normal rice-cooker program.
Day 1 : (5 minutes)
Rinse and soak (separately) the azuki beans and the rice.
Day 2 : (15 minutes + 1 hour)
Put the azuki in a big pasta pot, or a pressure cooker, with plenty of water. Bring to a boil. Take away the white foam. Then cook until the beans are tender. Discard the excess of water (or use for another recipe).
Cook the rice in the “sticky rice program” (okowa) of the rice cooker. Or place the rice in a cheese cloth or any big strainer, place that in a steam basket on top of boiling water. You can sprinkle water on the rice every 15 minutes (or not if you are not there). I think you need 30 to 45 minutes if your rice is well soaked and you sprinkle, otherwise 1 hour.
You obtain this :
Add the sweetener you want to the beans. Pound roughly the 2 ingredients in mortars (you can do that in a salad bowl and mash with a fork).
Prepare a plate, a spoon and a bowl of salted cold water.
Purple ohagi :
Wet your hands, take 1/2 golf ball of rice, shape as a small ball. Roll it in the beans, make a round shape.
White ohagi :
Wet your hands, take a golf ball of rice, shape it as a big circle. Garnish with 1/2 golf ball of beans (use the spoon) and close the rice around it.
Yellow ohagi (a variation) :
Prepare a bowl of kinako (roast soy bean powder), mix it with icing sugar if you like sweet (I didn’t). Make a white ohagi and roll it in kinako.
Other variations exist, the famous are :
-sesame, white or black, powdered or whole seeds
-sunda (edamame paste) instead of azuki-an
-ao nori (flakes of green seaweed)
If you cut or bite them :
So here, you have the home-made ancestor. It goes well with matcha (ceremony tea).
Or serve it with houji-cha or kyo-bancha (roasted teas that are popular in Autumn).
Wagashi Saga : Photo-menu of all Japanese sweet posts.