Once again I am perfecting my vegan wagashi shaping skills. This time I wanted to do the classic cherry blossom shape, since it is spring time. I did not manage to do this perfectly, but I think I did quite okay. Next time I’ll be better for sure.
In Japan, wagashi/nerikiri are often made to simbolize different seasons and times of year. So they make them in forms of different flowers, leaves, or anything they want really (the most popular one is probably this pink cherry blossom wagashi). I have made only a few shapes so far because I am still practicing, but if I decide to make others again soon, I will post the pictures on my instagram. So make sure you follow me on there if you like this kind of content.
A piece of advice
The only somewhat complicated thing about this recipe is shaping. But when you watch a few videos from wagashi artists, you will see that it is much more simple than it looks.
They use special shaping tools, however, you can improvise these as I did. I used the back of a butter knife to form individual petals, chopsticks to make a center of the flower, and a sharp knife to draw the finer lines. I squeezed the yellow colored wagashi dough through a sieve to get the yellow flower center.
The red bean paste is not mandatory. You can use balls of white bean paste instead. You can make your own bean paste at home, and I left a helpful recipe link down below. DO NOT use regular rice flour instead of glutinous rice flour. You will not be able to form mochi dough with the regular one.
If you need the green color to make a leaf, you can use some matcha powder. But if you don’t have it, feel free to use regular (vegan) food color.
I have left a few video links that inspired me below in the recipe, but you can shape and color your wagashi any way you want. There are hundreds of tutorials and pictures out there. If you decide to get creative with it, I would like to see your final results.
250 g of white bean paste*
12 g of glutinous rice flour
10 g of sugar
20 ml of water
pink food coloring
yellow food coloring
100 g of red bean paste (or additional white bean paste)
- White bean paste is something you can make at home. Whether you’re using store-bought or homemade paste, you will need to get rid of some moisture in it. Put the white bean paste in a non-stick pan and heat it on medium heat while stirring constantly. Mix on low heat until the water has evaporated and the moldable dough/paste is formed. Remove from heat, transfer into a dry bowl and cover it with a plastic wrap. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the glutinous rice flour, water and sugar. Put them in a non-stick pan or a pot and heat them on low heat while constantly mixing. Do this until a sticky mochi dough is formed and the mixture is no longer watery.Put a small amount of the mochi dough in the white bean paste. Mix and knead. Add the rest of the mochi dough and knead again. Pull it apart into many different pieces and then knead together again. Wrap it in a plastic wrap and set aside.
- Meanwhile, dissolve each food color in a small amount of water in separate small containers. If you do not own the wagashi shaping kit, prepare some chopsticks, a butter knife, and a regular knife.Roll the red bean paste (or white paste) into small balls, depending on how many wagashi pieces you’re making. When the wagashi dough has cooled down, divide it into several pieces (depending on how many you are making).
- Roll white wagashi dough pieces into small balls that you are going to color pink. Take smaller amounts of dough in order to color them yellow. Dip a toothpick in a food color and drag it across the white piece of wagashi dough. Knead it with your hands until it is colored evenly. It is better to end up with lightly colored pieces than with heavy color, so add it gradually in small doses.
- Since the shaping process is kind of complicated and difficult to write down comprehensively, I am going to leave a few videos that inspired me and taught me how to do this:
Wagashi shaping video 1
Wagashi shaping video 2
- Make sure to cover the pieces you are not using, so they don’t dry up. Use a plastic wrap or small plastic containers. Serve the vegan wagashi with some matcha tea.
- *You can make your own white bean paste at home using 300g of butter beans (or lima beans) and 120 g of sugar. I will leave a recipe right – here.
If you liked this recipe, make sure you check out my other recipes like:
Feel free to tell me what you think about this in the comments below, or send me the pictures of your own vegan wagashi. If you did something differently, I would also like to hear that, I’d love to see the things you come up with.
P.S. for more recipes like this and a bunch of other stuff, follow me on Instagram, @margo_drobi.
Also, I recently started a Patreon page, where you can subscribe and help me create more/better content. In return, you will get an exclusive piece of content (recipe) each month. My plan is to increase the amount of that content if I gain a few subscribers. If you are interested and you want to find out more, I will leave the link to my Patreon right – here.