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Hinamatsuri Foods

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Hinamatsuri is one of Matsuri in Japan and Mar 3, every year is the day.
Foods that go on the hinadan itself, for the dolls, as well as being served to the participants:

* the amazake or “sweet sake”
* the hishimochi or diamond-shaped mochi cakes that go on the little tables
* the round pink and white mochi that goes on the round stands; often folks use sekihan for the last.
Amazake, tho’ translated as “sweet sake,” is not a true brewed alcoholic drink. It’s made by infusing cooked white rice with koji, the mold spores used to make soy sauce, miso and natto.
http://blogimg.goo.ne.jp/user_image/31/d5/5f1f50bf237ebdb8ec91a6759ba56116.jpg http://www.marumikouji.jp/goods_img/amazake-img_l.jpg

As when making yogurt, the mixture is kept at a slightly elevated temperature overnight or so to get the mold to incubate and break down the rice.  You can make it yourself, but I never bothered. Now I see it in health food stores, but it’s made with brown rice (so it’s macrobiotic!) and has different flavorants that make it quite a bit different from what little girls in Japan get for the holiday.  Try looking for it in the refrigerated or frozen section of a Japanese grocery.  Check the Web for recipes.


Time was you ordered the hishimochi from a mochiya or Japanese confectionery. It's made from pounded steamed mochigome that’s colored and layered, and you CAN eat it, but it tends to get dry and not look too appetizing after it sits on the stand for a couple of days. After the mochiya closed, I made my own by making a recipe of chichi dango, layering different tinted batches in a square cake pan.

Chichi Dango to make hishimochi:

Mix 1 1-lb. box of mochiko (powdered mochigome) w 1 ½ c. sugar and 1 ½ c. water. until smooth. Separate into three parts and color one pink, another green, and leave one plain. Sprinkle each batch with salt and put in separate dish towels. Steam about 30 minutes. Knead when cool enough to handle until it’s smooth. Then pour the batches in layers, green then white then pink, into an 8- or 9-in. square cake pan liberally dusted with katakuriko (potato starch) or corn starch. Cut into diamonds when cooled with a knife that’s dusted with katakuriko as it’s very sticky. The green layer in Japan contains yomogi or mugwort, a plant with purported medicinal properties. You can buy it powdered if you want to be more authentic. Once it’s ready, a couple of diamonds go goes on the stands on the hinadan, the remainder gets served.

Traditional menu items:

Hamaguri ushio-jiru

Clam soup. The clams need to be live and really fresh or the results are disappointing, i.e., murky and strong-tasting, at best.  The soup always contains a set of clam shells that MUST still be joined together, since they represent the strong bond between a husband and wife.  After all, the holiday is supposed to help teach little girls proper etiquette and encourage them to become good wives these days, now that the purification ritual aspects have been buried for the most part.


"Scattered sushi." There are a myriad of recipes for chirashizushi, --but there are many variations. You can use all sorts of cooked minced vegetables and seafood, like tiny pink shrimp or chopped larger shimp, or chopped crab or even slices of fish cake called kamaboku, either cut into thin strips or flower shapes with a vegetable stamp. The sushi rice is mixed with the other ingredients. To serve, it’s lightly packed into a rice bowl and then inverted onto individual plates for each guest. Each is topped with threads of omelet along with black seaweed (nori) that’s been cut into very narrow strips. The eggs should be paper-thin omelets that are finely shredded.

Another favorite item to include is onigarayaki, or shrimp skewered and marinated in a sweet teriyaki-like sauce and then broiled. They are served still on the skewers.

I used to make little baskets from oranges per a recipe from a Japanese cookbook published in the 50’s You cut two wedges from the top of the orange to leave a ½” strip for the handle across the top. Remove the flesh of the orange, cut the segments into pieces. Toss with pieces with orange-flavored kanten (a Japanese kind of jello) cut into flower shapes, or use finger jello, and refill the cups. The kids thought these were cool.

By JS on Feb 28, 2011

tag : Hinamatsuri Foods



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