This dish was shared to me by my foster daughter, Yuriko when we returned from our trip to their family summer home in Karuizawa, Japan. We brought home some Yomogi leaves which we picked from the backyard of the house. The backyard has a huge open space and there are many herbs and other edible plants were grown. There I found plenty mints and Yomogi plants. Yomogi is a herb plant and to me it is a very unique plant and I can admit that I have not seemed them and even use them. I do not think you can get them easily over here unless you are living in a large Japanese community where there are many Japanese grocery stores.
This wild plant is also come from the chrysanthemum family. This dish is very important in the Japanese culture and it is eaten mainly in the springtime. In some parts of Japan, there is an ancient custom of hanging yomogi and iris leaves together outside their homes to keep evil spirits away.
So, as soon as we got home after spending the weekends, the next day my daughter decided that I should learned and joined to make this mochi. Well, I was also game for baking and cooking at any time. She was coaching me from the beginning to the end of this recipe. This is what we came out with this dessert or snack.
150g Fresh/frozen Yomogi leaves (from Japanese grocery store), if frozen, thawed. You may also use 3 tablespoons Yomogi powder with 3 tablespoons water if unavailable in your area.
300g Joshin-ko (Japanese top grade rice flour) or any top grade rice flour
A pinch baking soda
About 300cc boiling water
300g store-ready red bean paste
Soy bean powder
30g raw sugar (you can use granulated sugar)
If using fresh Yomogi leaves, washed and drained well or if frozen, thawed and squeeze dry. Place in a mortar and pestle and pound/grind them. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl with Joshin-ko (Japanese Rice Flour)/any top grade rice flour and add in the boiling water and mix well. Knead the dough until it becomes soft.
Meanwhile, heat a steamer with some water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
Divide the rice flour dough in portion for easy handling. Line a muslin/cotton dish towel on one of the steamer rack and place the rice flour dough side to side but not touching each other. Transfer to the steamer and steam until the rice dough for 15-18 minutes. Heat off and remove the steamed rice dough from the steamer rack into a large mixing bowl to cool a little for easy to handle. Add the pounded/grinded Yomogi and knead both together to form a soft green colored dough.
Form the steamed Yomogi dough into golf balls and fills each with red bean paste or without the red bean paste. You may also make them in any shapes. Serve rice cakes (rice mochi) with soybean flour or granulated sugar.