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Mochi Rice and Anko Buns (Ohagi)

February 6, 2012

Mochi Rice and Anko "Ohagi"

I promised myself that I would not include dessert recipes, but ohagi is such a traditional food, that I had to include it in my repertoire. Ohagi is mochi rice enclosed in anko, a sweet bean paste made of adzuki beans. This is a treat, so the beans are sweetened with quite a bit of sugar and the rice is made thick, almost creamy. Anko is eaten in a variety of ways, such as inside sweet pastries, buns, or watered down to make shiruko, a sweet bean soup. In our family, my mom makes ohagi or shiruko for New Years celebrations. Ohagi keeps well in the freezer; just defrost and serve at room temperature. Note: the terminology may be confusing because sweet or glutinous rice may be sold as “mochi rice,” but in this recipe, mochi rice is made by cooking both sweet rice and white rice together.

Mochi Rice and Anko Buns (Ohagi)

Makes 12-14  ohagi

For the Anko Bean Paste

1 cup adzuki beans

4 cups water

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

For the Mochi Rice

1 cup sweet rice (glutinous rice)

½ cup white Japanese rice

2 cups water

1. Wash the adzuki beans in several changes of water. Boil the adzuki beans in enough water to cover,  in a 3-quart pot, for two minutes; drain. Add the adzuki beans back into the pot with 4 cups of fresh water and bring it back to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, partially covered for 40 minutes. Do the “squeeze” test and see if a bean can be pressed easily between two fingers. If the beans are still not tender, simmer for an additional 5 or 10 minutes. Most of the water should be gone, but if necessary, add ¼ cup of hot water. Add the sugar and salt to the beans and stir for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat. Mash the beans using the back of a large spoon until it reaches a thick paste. I prefer to keep the anko on the lumpy side, but you can make it smooth. In any case, the texture will be like very thick, mashed potatoes.

2. Cook both the sweet rice and regular Japanese rice together, on the stove. See how to cook Japanese rice.  (In a rice cooker, you may only need 1 ½ cups water).  After the rice is cooked, take it off the heat; mash the rice with a spoon or potato masher, until the rice is very thick and sticky.

3. Wet hands lightly with water; take about 2 tablespoons of the rice and make small pillow-shaped ball. Wrap the rice with about 2 tablespoons of anko bean paste until the rice is entirely enclosed in the anko. Continue with the rest of the rice and anko bean paste.

Ingredients for ohagi: sweet rice, white Japanese rice, sugar, adzuki beans, and salt.

Boil the beans in some water.

Drain the beans.

Add fresh water to the pot.

Simmer, partially covered until the beans are tender.

"Squish" test: cooked beans should easily squish between fingers.

Add sugar.

Add salt.

Stir together until very thick.

Mash the beans with a spoon, or a ladle, as the case may be.

The texture should be thick, like mashed potatoes. The anko bean paste is done.

Sweet rice has short, stubby grains and they are white; white rice is translucent.

Cook both types of rice together.

Mash the rice with a spoon, or a potato masher works well too.

After mashing, the rice is very thick and sticky.

Form a small pillow-shaped ball with wet hands.


Wrap the rice with the anko bean paste. (You will be using both hands).

Enclose the entire rice ball with the anko bean paste. Here, it's almost covered. Repeat with the rest of the rice and anko.

L likes ohagi because it's soft and sweet.


From → Dessert, Recipes, Rice

  1. Wow, these look good.

    I’m glad you decided to post the recipe, I’ll have to try this!

    Thank you


    • Hi, you can also save leftover mochi rice in the freezer. I just defrosted it today and it has the same texture and taste as before. Emi

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