A Sweet Solution for Winter Chills, Japanese Red Bean Oshiruko with Pounded Mochi Rice Cake

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Are plummeting temps freezing you to the bone? Try Japanese red bean oshiruko with pounded mochi rice cakes. Mochi dunked into the sweet azuki bean soup will instantly warm your insides and bring a smile to your face.

Oshiruko, a Japanese winter treat:
Mochi perches atop a mound of sweet red azuki beans. 

Although red beans are prevalent in Japanese sweets, oshiruko is a winter specialty. It’s a popular snack during the New Year’s season. Joining the throngs at the shrines during the first days of January is exhilarating. Memorable moments include giggling girls adorned in long-sleeved kimonos cinched with gorgeous red and gold brocade obi belts tottering in high-heeled geta clogs; smelling the pine trees; and feeling awe-struck by the towering tori gates en route to the heart of the temple. However, it’s hard to escape the bite in the air. 

A tori gate towers above the crowds at a Japanese shrine.
Click here for the photo credit.

There are vats of hot otoso spiced sake brewed for temple visitors but the portions are tiny. Bonfires piled high with last year’s talisman trinkets and hamaya arrows also burn. Still, a common comment is, “Samui! It’s cold!” So, after prayers and the purchase of this year’s amulets and hamaya arrows, which allegedly repel evil forces (and has only a one year warranty), many Japanese scurry home to enjoy an oshiruko snack. 

Ready to dispell evil spirits, a hamaya arrow is attached to an amulet.
According to Chinese/Japanese astrology, 2013 is the year of the snake.
Click here for the photo credit.

For an outstanding recipe for oshiruko, click here and visit Hiroko’s Kitchen. I love Hiroko-san’s recipe. It’s not overly sweet. And the balance of soft beans and chewy, gooey mochi rice cake is superb.

A sweet solution for winter chills - Japanese oshiruko with mochi.

What are some of your homemade winter warm-ups? Please leave a comment and share your faves.

Wishing you warm hugs, smiles and tummy satisfying treats like oshiruko.

The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

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