In the spring time, Japan is all about sakura (cherry blossoms). People go out to see the beautiful sakura trees in full bloom and also enjoy both sweet and savory treats using sakura flowers and leaves. With thin and tender yuba (tofu skins), this dish is full of spring flavors! The additional Mochi Mugi barley also adds the nice texture. Salt-preserved (pickled) sakura can be found at some Japanese markets and online specialty stores.
Vegan optionThis is a vegan dish.
EquipmentKamado-san (3 rice-cup size)
Servings4 - 5
- 2 rice cups (360 ml) short grain rice, rinsed
- 1 packet ( 2 oz | 50 g) mochi mugi barley
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (500 ml) water
- 1 piece (2″ x 2″ / 5 cm x 5 cm) kombu (dry kelp)
- 2 oz (30 g) salt-preserved sakura (cherry blossom)
- 1/2 oz (15 g) dry yuba (tofu skin), broken by smaller pieces
- Combine the rice, mochi mugi, sea salt, sake, and water in Kamado-san. Place the kombu on top, and let the contents soak for 20 – 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, soak the salt-preserved sakura in water in a small bowl for a few minutes. Drain and gently rinse to remove excess salt. Pat dry and select half of prettier looking flowers. Cut off part of the stems if necessary so the remained stems with the flowers are about the same length. Set aside for decoration. Mince the rest of the sakura and the stems which were cut off. Set aside.
- Spread the chopped sakura, followed by the yuba over the rice.
- Cover Kamado-san with both lids and cook over medium-high heat for 13 – 15 minutes, or until 2 – 3 minutes after the steam starts puffing out of the top lid.
- Turn off the heat and let it stand for 20 minutes.
- Uncover and remove the kombu. Gently toss the contents with a rice paddle. Garnish with the saved sakura.
Once it’s ready, remove the kombu and gently fluff the contents. The tender kombu after cooking with the rice is also tasty, so I like to snack it, too.
Spring-style lunch one day. So good.