Ohagi (Botamochi) is another tasteful Japanese wonder. For fans of glutinous rice sweets such as the mochi doughnut and chocolate mochi recipe, you’ll surely love this one. It is a treat traditionally eaten during spring and autumn. However, you can satisfy your sugar craving and enjoy it at any time with our simple Ohagi recipe!
What is Ohagi made of?
This Japanese sweet is made of glutinous rice and red bean paste. Usually, cooks will sprinkle the top with red bean paste, soybean flour, and sesame seeds. Besides using bean paste for sprinkling, it can also be the filling.
The confection comes in several types. The first one is Anko, made from boiled adzuki beans and sweetened with sugar. This is the standard version of Botamochi and you often serve it with Japanese tea.
Other common variations are Kinako and Kurumi. You use soybean flour and sugar to make the Kinako type. Kurumi calls for the use of soybean flour and ground walnuts. Similar to Anko, locals sweeten these flours with sugar to add flavour.
The Japanese usually coat the mochi balls over with Adzuki red beans as their appearance on the surface resembles a Hagi flower. Those in fishing villages would also make the confection with seaweed sprinkled over it.
A serving of this traditional confection contains 180-250 calories. It is not a low-calorie dish but makes a perfect dessert or as an afternoon snack.
Botamochi vs Ohagi
The difference between the two is essentially the name. In autumn, the Japanese call this treat Ohagi, inspired by the autumn bush clover, Hagi. Whereas during springtime, they call this dish Botamochi. Such a name comes from the spring flower, Botan, a peony.
Another difference is the filling. The red beans are freshly-harvested during autumn, so they are very soft. Due to that, Ohagi’s filling is chunky and comes with bean peels. On the other hand, Botamochi’s filling doesn’t include peels. This is because they would harden by springtime and can be peeled off to make smooth bean paste.
The ingredients to make this traditional Japanese sweet are:
- Glutinous rice flour: It’s sticky and sweet rice grown in Southeast Asia. They are also known as mochi rice. You can find them in most Asian supermarkets.
- Regular short-grain rice: Any kind will do, but we recommend Japanese short-grain rice for the Ohagi recipe. Mixing the glutinous and regular rice will keep the texture of the wagashi softer and chewier.
- Adzuki bean paste: You can either make or buy the paste from your local Asian supermarkets. The store-bought version can be more convenient, but it is also fun and easy to make from scratch. Boil the red beans and mash them into a paste to make it from scratch. Then, add some honey and sugar.
- Soybean flour: You may purchase this ingredient if you wish to have different coatings for your wagashi. Otherwise, you can omit this ingredient.
- Sesame seeds: For coating.
- Sugar: As a sweetener.
- Salt: Adding salt into the soybean flour and sugar mixture will enhance the flavour.
How to make Ohagi
Making the wagashi mainly involves three steps.
- Cook the glutinous and regular rice together.
- Pound and shape them into rice balls.
- Coat them with red bean paste.
You can also make the paste as filling and coat the Botamochi with your coating of choice.
- The rice ratio should be ¾ of mochi rice and ¼ of regular rice. This ratio maintains the ideal texture of the wagashi.
- Soak the rice in water for an hour so it can quickly cook and become nicely sticky.
- The water used should be x1.2 the weight of the rice. However, it is better to cook mochi rice with a little less amount of water.
- Only pound or mash the rice partially. It gives the Ohagi its distinct feature of having a noticeable rice texture when you bite into it. Moreover, partially mashed rice will also make it tastier.
- It is best to shape the pounded rice into balls while still warm. Wet your hands with salt water to prevent them from sticking to your hands.
- Use plastic wrap to create a thin layer of the Anko and wrap it around the Botamochi. When wrapping it by hand, rotate the Anko clockwise with your left hand. At the same time, push the rice ball into the Anko with your right fingers.
- Save some black sesame seeds and soybean flour for reapplication of the coating. The colour of the Botamochi will darken and turn spotty after 10-15 minutes of the first coating. Therefore, you will need to reapply the coating to make it more presentable.
How to Store
The Japanese sweet is not suitable for refrigeration. It will lose its softness and chewiness at low temperatures. Therefore, you should enjoy it within 12 hours. Cover the container with a thick towel if you still want to keep it in the refrigerator. This will protect it from the cold air.
You can also keep the sweets in the freezer for up to a month. Then, defrost them overnight in the refrigerator once you’re ready to eat them. To bring back their soft and chewy texture, reheat them gently in the microwave to warm their temperature.
Ohagi Recipe | Botamochi
- 1 cup glutinous sweet rice
- ¼ cup regular short-grain rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 lb red bean paste (Anko)
- 2 tablespoons soybean flour (Kinako)
- 2 tablespoons ground black sesame seeds
- To make Kinako coating, combine soybean flour, sugar, and salt and mix well. For black sesame coating, mix black sesame seeds and sugar.
- For Anko wagashi, spoon the red bean paste into your hand and shape it into the size of a ping pong ball. For Kinako and sesame version, shape it into half the size of a ping pong ball.
- Cook the glutinous and regular rice together in a rice cooker. Then, partially pound them and place them into a bowl.
- Wet hands with saltwater and shape the rice into half the size of a ping pong ball. For Kinako and sesame Ohagi, shape them into the total size of a ping pong ball.
- Spread the Anko thinly. Place the small rice ball in the centre and wrap it up with the Anko. To make with other coatings, shape them into a round sheet. Then, wrap a small Anko ball with the rice. Adjust the shape and coat with Kinako or sesame coatings.
- Place all Botamochi onto a plate and serve.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
If you are interested to see how the whole process is done, Hotto Japanese Cooking has a beautiful ASMR video recipe that we recommend you check out. In their Ohagi recipe video, they make the classic version with only Anko as the outer layer.
Interested to learn more about Japanese mochi recipes? Check out our guide on how to make mochi donuts, also known as Pon de rings! Otherwise, follow us on Instagram @honestfoodtalks to get more daily food inspirations!
I thought they were just called mochi until i saw this on Reddit - seems like a less known Japanese dessert. Looking forward to try making this at home ^^
Loved eating this when i was in Japan - turned out v lovely after trying out myself at home. Recommended recipe