Salted sakura leaves, also called pickled sakura leaves, are the essential finishing touch to authentic sakura mochi. These are soft & chewy glutinous rice cakes filled with sweetened red bean paste, then wrapped in a salted sakura leaf. They are only eaten in spring in Japan, and form part of their culture of wagashi, or traditional sweets.
Before using the sakura leaves, soak them in plenty of cold water for 15 minutes to remove most of the salt.
Salted sakura leaves have a salty-sour taste that cuts through rich and sweet flavours. Alternate pieces of sakura leaf with cubes of beef on grilled skewers to add a unique flavour. Use them to wrap fish before cooking to infuse it with delicately salty, sour and almost fruity notes. For an easy way to use the leaves, shred them and stir through steamed rice to add a subtle aroma.
In Kyoto, there are now restaurants using salted sakura leaves to make a new kind of sushi. It is made specifically with sea bream and leaves from the sansho pepper plant, prickly ash. Each piece of this sakurazushi is wrapped in two salted sakura leaves.
Ingredients: sakura leaves, salt, aluminium potassium sulphate (E522).
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