Violet Ohagi

So this recipe came about because I had a lot of red bean paste, and I had to use it up somehow. One of the first things that came to mind when I was trying to figure out what to do with the red bean paste was ohagi. Ohagi is a type of Japanese wagashi(confection) that is made by wrapping either mochi or sweetened glutinous rice with red bean paste. They are kind of straightforward in appearance because the dessert resembles a ball of red bean paste, but when you bite into them, they have the rice or mochi inside as a delightful little surprise! For this rendition, I wanted to lean into the purple aesthetic of the red bean paste, and make the filling a purple botamochi. Botamochi is a kind of rice thatI used forbidden rice, which fun fact, cooks off to be purple in color, and blended that down into a fine powder. From there, I made mochi out of the forbidden rice powder, which gave it this gorgeous violet color. Ironically when coming up with this recipe, I was trying to use up all of my spare red bean paste. Instead, I wound up having a little extra mochi. And that was where the idea to roll out my spare mochi and cut flower shapes to adorn the ohagi came from! So it was a happy teeter-totter accident, which totally worked to the benefit of the overall appearance of the wagashi. For the red bean paste, I did use a pressure cooker to make that, so I included that method as the baseline for how I made mine – fun fact, making the paste with a pressure cooker took less than an hour, so honestly that is the way to go!

Makes 4 ohagi:
For the red bean paste:
1/4 cup dried red beans
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt

In a pressure cooker, cook the red beans with the water first for 25 minutes. Slowly release the pressure and cook the sugar and salt into the red beans. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until completely cold. Divide the red bean paste into 4 portions.

For the black rice botamochi:
3 tbsp forbidden rice
1/2 cup water, in two parts
2 tbsp shiratamako
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

In a spice grinder, blend down the forbidden rice to a fine powder. Combine with half of the water and bring to a boil in a covered pot on medium heat. After the mixture comes up to a boil, lower the heat and continue cooking, while covered, for another 5 minutes. In a bowl, mix together the other ingredients. Pour into the forbidden rice and mix together on medium heat until thickened considerably – you want the consistency of the mochi mixture to be similar to super stretchy mozzarella cheese. Pour onto a nonstick or wetted surface and allow the mochi to cool down before dividing into 6 pieces. Wrap each piece with red bean paste and transfer to the freezer for at least 10 minutes.

For assembly:
Wrap the mochi inside of the anko and shape them into round spheres – you should have 4 in total. Roll out the remaining mochi on a surface dusted with potato starch and cut out flower shapes. I placed 3 flowers on top of each ohagi, pressing them into the ohagi using the back of a chopstick.

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