Monday, April 21, 2008

Ichigo Mochi - Strawberry Ricecakes

Ichigo mochi (or, more properly called ichigo daifuku) were my favorite treat when I was living in Japan. Even though... thinking about it I guess my favorite treat were daigaku imo - fried candied sweet potatoes, caramelized with sugar and a splash of soy sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. But anyway, ichigo mochi were my favorite spring treat. Mochi, small dumplings made of pounded sticky rice and filled with anko, a paste of sweet red adzuki beans, are a year-round favorite treat in Japan, even though mochi are most popular in winter around new year's. In January, I started seeing mochi stuffed with strawberries from Okinawa (which is so far south that strawberries start ripening there when the rest of Japan ist still cold and wintery).

I purchased my very first ichigo mochi and fell in love with it. The tender consistency of the mochi, the anko's subtle sweetness and the fragrance, aroma, sweetness, and juicyness of the strawberry was better than anything I had ever had before. I spend tons of yen on ichigo mochi in spring.


Back in Germany I had no way of getting mochi. Until the other day, that is. I was in Berlin and on my way back in the train station I came across a sushi place that offered mochi. Oh joy! I grabbed a pack and when I was home I stuffed it with strawberries and dug in. Very un-ladylike and very un-Japanese. If you've ever had these gems you will understand :-)

11 comments:

Jennifer said...

That sounds wonderful. I wonder if you would be able to make the pasta from whole adzuki beans.....

Jennifer said...

'paste' not pasta, sorry

Lizzy said...

after reading this i'd love to give them a try =) at what sushi place did you get it? bhf zoo in der nähe?

VeggieGirl said...

I can't say that I have ever heard of Ichigo mochi, but it sounds/looks so divine!! And how lucky that you were able to find some in Germany!! :0)

Ilva said...

Anke, can't you find out how to make them? Pleeeaaase!

Cookiemouse said...

They look like Christmas hats, and I bet they are delicious too.

Vegan_Noodle said...

I've never had mochi, but now I want to!! Those are so beautiful, like strawberries on fluffy white clouds....

Erin said...

I love mochi with red bean paste (I haven't had them for man years now though)- but never had I had any stuffed with strawberries before. Dang, now I want to go to Japan and try some.

Anke said...

@ jennifer: sure you can make anko paste yourself, sounds really easy: http://japanesefood.about.com/od/japanesedessertsweet/r/anko.htm

@ lizzy: I got them in Hauptbahnhof, in this sushi place. they had green-tea flavored and plain white.

@ ilva: hm, making anko is easy I suppose, but making mochi? I've made mochi in japan, not the thing you could make in a kitchen :-)

however, I once read that there is something like instant-mochi flour...

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