Kusamochi (rice-flour dumplings mixed with mugwort) (草餅)

Kusamochi is a kind of rice cake. It is used as a form of Japanese confectionery.

Kusamochi used to be made by mixing hahakogusa (cottonweed), whereas it is now made by mixing mashed mugwort into a simple rice cake. Bean jam is often used a s a filling. In "Toga," an etymological dictionary written by Hakuseki ARAI in 1719, there is a comment that "Kusamochi is now made by mixing mugwort instead of traditional hahakogusa, which is also called yomogimochi (a mugwort rice cake)." However, from the description that 'Hahakogusa is also used for making kusamochi' which appears in "Fuzokumondo-tosho" (Question and Answer on Cultural Matters) compiled around 1813, it is clear that many districts used hahakogusa as an ingredient. Kusamochi was commonly used to make the lowest layer of hishimochi (a lozenge-shaped rice cake with three layers colored red, white and green) used to decorate the tiered stand containing dolls in the Girls' Festival.

The term kusamochi now refers to yomogimochi. As kusamochi or yomogimochi has become more popular, it is increasingly available at many grocery stores. Moreover, just as with simple rice cakes, they are cut into a four-sided shape after being stretched, and kusamochi is often eaten toasted or cooked as an ingredient of zoni (a vegetable soup containing pieces of rice cake) or zenzai (sweet adzuki-bean soup containing pieces of rice cake).

[Original Japanese]