March 21st, 2015, is a national holiday in Japan which is called "Shunbun". People celebrate the vernal Equinox, in which daytime and nighttime are of equal lengths. The date changes every year based on the recent astronomical measurements. It is part of a seven-day festival called "Ohigan". During this period, families gather together and appreciate their ancestors by visiting the graves. It is customary to eat "Botamochi", which are rice dumplings covered with red bean paste. The red color of the red bean is believed to have a power that drives away evil spirits. Botamochi is offered to ancestors, and we pray for safety of the family and good health. It doesn't include dairy products. Red bean paste has many health benefits: -The fiber helps to improve our intestinal tract and ease digestive issues, which makes the skin beautiful. -Polyphenol is antioxidant, so it has anti-aging properties. -Vitamin B1 helps change carbohydrates into energy.
Directions Red bean paste (If you want to save time on this process, you can use canned paste.) Ingredients: 1&1/3 cup of red beans, 1 cup of sugar, 1 pinch of salt, water Directions: 1. Wash red beans well. 2. Put red beans and plenty of water in a pan and boil them for 5 minutes. 3. Turn off the heat and drain the hot water. 4. Put the red beans and plenty of water in the pan and simmer them again until the red beans become soft. 5. Add sugar and salt. 6. Simmer until the mixture is thick then them turn off the cooker and remove from the heat. 7. You can keep them in a fridge or a freezer.
Botamochi Ingredients: 2 cups of cooked rice, 1 rice cake, 1 tsp of water, a proper amount of red bean paste, a proper amount of roasted soy bean flour Directions: 1. Cook the rice. 2. Cut the rice cake into 6 pieces and put them in a heat-resistant container. Add 1 tsp of water and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. 3. Add the rice cake to the rice and mash them together. 4. Make 1.5 inch rice balls and cover them with the red bean paste. 5. If you make yellow botamochi, spread the rice ball in your hand, add the red bean paste, and wrap it in the rice ball. Put some roasted soy bean flour on a board and roll the rice ball in it.
Cooking the Rice Ingredients 1 1/2 cups of white rice, 2 cups of water Directions 1. Measure the rice. 2. Wash the rice well. 3. Add the rice and clean water to a pan. Let the rice soak for 30 minutes (in summer) or 1 hour (in winter). If you are in a hurry, you can skip this step. 4. Over a high heat, cover the rice and bring it to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat up to high for 5 seconds and remove from the heat. Let the rice steam for 10 minutes as it is. Open the lid and stir. - When you cook brown rice, the amount of water is 1.5 times and let it soak for 4 hours.