Other than Amazake, the indispensable part of Hina
Matsuri, special mouthwatering dishes are also prepared on the grand occasion
of Hina Matsuri. "Hishimochi" are diamond-shaped rice cakes that are savored
by people of all ages. These are colored red (or pink), white, and green.
People add colors that hold special significance. For instance the red is
used for driving away evil spirits, the white symbolizes purity, and the green
stands for health. "Chirashi-zushi," "sakura-mochi (bean paste-filled rice
cakes with cherry leaves)," "hina-arare (rice cake cubes)" and "shirozake
(sweet white sake)" are the names of Hina Matsuri dishes.
To begin with the recipes...
(Sweet Rice Säkè)
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup short or medium-grain rice, well rinsed
1-cup granular rice koji starter
1 teaspoon grated gingerroot
1 cup water 1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sake, brandy, almond liqueur or orange liqueur (optional)
How to make Amazake:
At first , place rice and 1-1/2 cups water in a tiny saucepan in low heat.
After the water gets boiled, cover the pan. Reduce heat at low temperature.
Cook 1 hour, stirring often. A metal heat diffuser may be helpful to prevent
burning. When soft, cool the rice to 140F (60C). Sterilize a 1-quart wide-mouth
jar or heatproof glass bowl in boiling water. Add rice and stir it in koji.
Tightly cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Place it in a 140 (60C) oven. Do
not allow temperature to rise above 150F (65C). It may help to turn the oven
on and off intermittently for maintaining the temperature. If possible, use
a warming drawer. Incubate mixture for 10 to 12 hours and do not disturb it.
The mixture will develop a rich sweet flavor. Consistency will be like rice
porridge. In a saucepan, boil mixture for one minute and then cool it. Then
put it in a refrigerate in an airtight container for several days. To make
amazake, pour two cups of base mixture into a saucepan with one cup of water,
salt and gingerroot. Water amount can be adjusted to taste. Stir it in ‘sake’.
Finally serve it hot in Japanese teacups.
The recipes for two sumptuous dishes
for Hina Matsuri are as follows:
(a kind of sushi, which is colorful)
4 shiitake mushrooms
3 cups sushi rice
1/2 cucumberRaw tuna/salmon slices
3/4 cup dashi soup
2 tablespoons of mirin
1 tablespoon of soysauce
3 tablespoons of sugar
At first prepare sushi rice. Put dashi soup, mirin, soysauce, and 2 tablespoons
of sugar sugar in a pan. Add shiitake mushrooms in it and simmer until the liquid
is gone. Cool the simmered shiitake mushrooms and slice them finely. Beat eggs
and add 1 tablespoon of sugar. Pour one scoop of mixture of egg into a frying
pan and make a thin omelet like a paper. Make a few sheets. Cut the omelets
into thin strips. Cut the cucumber into thin strips. Serve sushi rice either
on a bowl or a large plate. Spread shiitake mushrooms, cucumber, and strips
of omelets over the rice. Place raw tuna or salmon slices and boiled shrimps
on top of the ingredients. Serve it along with pickled ginger.
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup domyojiko flour (glutinous rice flour)
1 cup water
Red food color
3/4 cup koshian (sweet beans)
8 sakura (Japanese cherry blossom) leaves pickled in salted water
Wash pickled sakura leaves and dry them with paper towel. Boil water in a pan.
Mix domyojiko flour in the water. Wrap the pan with a lid and leave it like
this for five minutes. Place a wet cloth in a steamer and put the dough on the
cloth. Steam the dough for about twenty minutes in medium heat. Remove the steamed
dough to a bowl. Smash the dough a little with a wooden pestle and mix sugar
in it. Dissolve a small amount of red food color in some water. Add red water
in the dough and mix it nicely. Divide the pink rice cake into eight balls.
Flatten each rice cake ball with the help of hands and place anko filling on
the dough. Cover the anko with the rice cake and make them round with the help
of hands. Cover each rice cake with a sakura leaf.