Ohagi, otherwise konwn as botamochi, is basically a mochi rice ball wrapped in anko (a kind of Japanese sweet red bean paste). This is the simple traditional way of making them. As a finishing touch, you can cover them with various ingredients such as sesame seeds and matcha powder. The picture above shows what kind of beautiful assortment of ohagi you can make!
The two essential ingredients for this recipe are glutinous rice, also known as "mochi rice", and anko paste.
This is the kind of rice used for making "mochi" rice cakes. Notice how the grain is more opaque than regular Japanese rice. Once cooked, it's also stickier. If you are in Japan, get what is called "mochi kome". If you are outside of Japan, try to find a kind of sticky glutinous rice such as the one shown in the picture above.
The other thing you'll need is anko paste. Either buy it at a supermarket if you can, or make it from scratch using adzuki red beans. Check out the recipe below to make anko paste from scratch.
Once you have these ingredients, the recipe is very simple. The only other thing you'll need is some plastic wrap.
Step 1: Cook your glutinous rice as you would normally cook rice.
Step 2: Once the rice is cooked, stir the rice until it starts to stick together and until some grains lose their form. You can add a little sugar to your rice if you want. For about one cup of uncooked rice, one teaspoon should be good.
This should be your desired rice texture.
Step 3: For this step, you'll need some plastic wrap. Spread a thick layer of anko on a square piece of wrap. This will form the outer layer of the ohagi.
Step 4: Form a rice ball and place it at the center of your anko paste spread.
Step 5: Form your ohagi by wrapping the rice ball with the anko paste. Squeeze a little so that the ohagi has a firm consistency.
You're done! Your ohagi should look something like this.
Step 6 (optional): cover your ohagi with some of your favorite ingredients.
You can try "kinako" (above picture), which is a kind of roasted soybean flour. Green tea powder or sesame seeds also make great toppings for ohagi.
Hope you'll enjoy making and eating your ohagi! Japanese traditional desserts are not so well known so making them for your friends or family will surely impress them!