Hishihanabira Mochi (Water Chestnut Petal Sticky Rice Cakes) (菱葩餅)
Hishihanabira Mochi (Water chestnut petal sticky rice cakes) are a traditional Japanese confectionary made by wrapping burdock root, white miso paste and pink colored mochi (sticky rice cake) in either sticky rice cake or Turkish delight. The popular name is 'Hanabira Mochi' (flower petal rice cakes).
Initially the product used two portions of burdock but these days it is more common just to use one piece.
In the Heian period, the confection graced tables at simplified 'New Year Feast' (lit. 'teeth hardening ritual') functions marking the new year. As such, it is thought to have been one item amongst traditional new year ('Osechi') foods consumed by members of Japan's imperial court for as long as 600 years.
At New Year Feasts, participants prayed for longevity, covered sticky rice cakes with red colored water chestnut rice cakes and placed on top of this boar meat, giant white radish (daikon), salted sweetfish (ayu) and gourd which were then consumed. However, over time the ingredients were gradually simplified to foods that could be wrapped in stick rice (mochi) cake (so called imperial new year soup of vegetables and sticky rice cakes) which was distributed to the nobility and in particular, burdock root was used instead of sweetfish and, the soup took the place of sticky rice cake and miso paste.
Traditional confectionary was supplied to the imperial court by Kawabata Doki Co. Ltd. During the Meiji period, Gengensai, 11th master of the Urasenke school permitted it to be used when holding the first tea ceremony in the new year. At this ceremony, this became the traditional confectionary to be consumed and came to be produced by traditional Japanese confectionary makers across Japan.