All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Uguisumochi / warbler cake with sweet azuki paste

As plum blossom season approaches, this chubby oblong cake coated with green soybean flour starts to appear at sweets shops. The cake form symbolizes the spring songbird, uguisu, or Japanese warbler -- I wouldn't blame you if you don't see the resemblance in appearance, but once you put it in your mouth, the combination of soft outer cake and silky azuki bean paste inside reminds you of the tenderness of spring.

One cake (1/4 of recipe): 
110 calories; 2.5 g protein; 0.6 g fat; 24.0 g carbohydrate; 22.4 g net carbs; 0 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.5 g fiber

(Makes 4 uguisumochi cakes)
35 g shiratamako sweet rice powder
20 g sugar
5 g mizuame starch syrup
70 cc water

80 g koshian silky azuki bean paste
2 tsp water

10-15 g aodaizu kinako roasted green soybean flour


Mix koshian and water to soften the paste. 

Divide into 4 balls, and set aside. 


Put aodaizu kinako on a tray.


In a microwaveable bowl, put shiratamako and a few tablespoons of the 70cc water, and mix well.
Shiratamako has small lumps, so try to mash them, and blend with water.

Add sugar and mizuame, and mix well.
Add remaining water, and mix well. 


Loosely cover bowl, and microwave for 30-40 seconds.

Remove, and mix well with moistened spatula.
Cover and microwave again for 30-40 seconds.
Remove, and mix well with moistened spatula.

Repeat one more time, microwaving for a shorter time (20-30 seconds).  
The outer mochi (gyuuhi) is basically ready.


Empty mochi over aodaizu kinako.
Lightly sprinkle aodaizu kinako on top of mochi for easy handling.
While mochi is still warm, divide into four.  
Mochi can easily be separated by twisting with hands.
Flatten each mochi piece into a round shape, and wrap one koshian ball.

Pinch both ends to form a chubby oblong shape.
With tea strainer, dust aodaizu kinako over cakes.
Ready to serve.

  • My microwave's power output is 1,100 watts. If your wattage is lower, increase microwaving time as necessary.
  • Mizuame starch syrup is mainly added to prevent mochi from hardening. If not available, use more sugar.
  • Aodaizu kinako [roasted green soybean flour] is sometimes called uguisu kinako [lit. warbler roasted soybean flour] or uguisuko [lit. warbler flour]. Despite the actual warbler's plumage being a dull, grayish green color, the bird is often depicted in chartreuse green in illustrations and other visual images. 
  • Uguisumochi is often coated or dusted with regular kinako colored green (by adding food color, yomogi mugwort powder or matcha green tea powder) due to the above association. The outer mochi itself is sometimes colored too.

(Last updated: April 6, 2016)


Anonymous said...

I wish I could get aodaizu kinako where I live (sadly, you can't even order it), would love to give the uguisumochi a try. Tea-lover here, and Japanese wagashi pair so well with tea.

I've been following your blog for a long time now. I generally cook Japanese and your blog often is a source of inspiration when I'm thinking about how to use the ingredients I have waiting in the fridge or pantry. Though I must admit I often cook a bit free-style, your recipes work well. Being a single man I appreciate the fact that they are meant for 2 servings. Thank you and keep up the great work! Regards, Philip

neco said...

Hi Philip,
You could use regular kinako roasted soybean flour. The main difference between aodaizu kinako and regular kinako is the color. Aodaizu kinako also is starchier (therefore a bit sweeter) and is less toasty than regular kinako, but they are quite similar.

I have not seen aodaizu kinako myself here either – I brought back a few packages with me from Japan last year. In Japan, many products labelled as aodaizu kinako were actually regular kinako colored green (greener than real aodaizu green soybean color). I also found that the real aodaizu kinako made only of aodaizu is pricier and usually available in smaller portions, partly because the natural greenish color does not last a long time.

Thank you for the encouraging message. Your own free-style is good! I am glad that some of what I write can play with your creativity.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your encouraging words and the suggestion. I mixed kinako with a small amount of a high quality matcha - one suitable for koicha and obviously one I wouldn't normally use for 'cooking' due to the costs - and managed to replicate the genuine aodaizu kinako color nicely. As this matcha has distint notes of edamame and a subtle sweetness on it's own it may fit quite well. I followed your recipe this time quite closely ;) but used home-made tsubuan because I has a small quantity open...
Will enjoy the not-quite-uguisu mochi later. Have a nice weekend!

Anonymous said...

Hi Neco: I received some aodaizu kinako from Japan some time ago. I still like to fill these with uguisu-an, though. Right now, fresh fava beans are in season here. Recipes like this one (or the yuzu daifuku - I found some wet candied yuzu peels here, by the way) are great for a quickly made sweet to go with tea. Kindly, Philip

neco said...

Hi Philip,
Your comment reminded me of leftover aodaizu kinako; I made soft milk mochi with glucomannan powder and agar powder as a test and coated it with the kinako. The proportion of ingredients was wrong, and the kianko was old … I need to get fresh one!

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the late reply, I always hesitate - I don't want to pester. I'd love to see more and new wagashi ideas :)

By the way, I received aodaizu kinako a while ago from Japan! Such a nice pale colour. I know it's not really in season, though soramame for uguisu-an are. I've been looking up this recipe frequently - yes, I did print it but somehow have mislaid the paper. Having uguisu mochi right now.

Thanks for this site, it's much appeciated and a great source of inspiration. Philip

neco said...

Hope you enjoyed your uguisumochi!
Enjoy the aodaizu kinako too – its color would fade over time. And fava beans! Our odd summer weather seems to have shortened the fava bean season this year.