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


Sakura shiokoji gohan / steamed rice with salted cherry blossoms (salted rice malt version)

Sakura shiokoji -- made with the salt used to pickle cherry blossoms -- instantly transforms regular salty-sweet sakura gohan into a sodium-savvy dish with a more subtly salty and milder taste.

1/3 of recipe:
188 calories; 3.1 g protein; 0.5 g fat; 39.8 g carbohydrate; 39.5 g net carbs; 56 mg sodium (when using sakura shiokoji made of kosher salt; excluding pickled cherry blossoms); 0 mg cholesterol; 0.3 g fiber

1/2 of recipe:
282 calories; 4.7 g protein; 0.7 g fat; 59.7 g carbohydrate; 59.3 g net carbs; 84 mg sodium (when using sakura shiokoji made of kosher salt; excluding pickled cherry blossoms); 0 mg cholesterol; 0.4 g fiber

3/4 cup* (135 cc) regular rice
1/4 cup* (45 cc) mochigome sweet rice
Approx. 180 cc water (not in photo)
1 tbsp sake
1/2 tsp sakura shiokoji salted rice malt infused with pickled cherry blossoms
1 small piece kombu kelp (optional)
20-30 sakura no hana no shiozuke salted cherry blossoms (Prunus x yedoensis "Akebono" in photo)
Water to desalinate cherry blossoms (not in photo)

*1 rice cooker cup = 180 cc


Rinse regular rice and sweet rice, drain, and let sit for 30+ minutes.


Meanwhile, soak salted cherry blossoms until reaching desired saltiness, changing soaking water several times as necessary.
When done, drain, and squeeze out excess water.


When ready to cook, put sake and sakura shiokoji, add water to 1-cup mark, and mix well.

Put kombu, if using, and cook.


When done, wait 10 minutes, remove kombu, and gently turn.

Add desalinated cherry blossoms, and gently mix.
Ready to serve. 

  • Sodium content depends on the type of salt used to pickle cherry blossoms (and sakura shiokoji) as well as the number of pickled cherry blossoms used and how much they are desalinated.
  • I use Diamond Crystal kosher salt (containing 280 mg sodium per 1/4 tsp) for pickling cherry blossoms (jar in back in photo at right) and therefore for sakura shiokoji (jar in front in photo at right). Diamond Crystal kosher salt contains approximately 40% less sodium than sea salt (my usual choice for making regular shiokoji).
  • If sakura shiokoji is not at hand, use regular shiokoji, but less than the specified amount above, and add some or all of the water used to desalinate pickled cherry blossoms.
  • Skip kombu kelp if sodium intake is a concern (shiokoji is packed with umami, so skipping kombu won't significantly impact the dish).


Anonymous said...

I never knew cherry blossoms were used as an ingredient, definitely want to try it

neco said...

Yes, salted cherry blossoms add the same aroma and taste as salted cherry leaves to main ingredients or dishes, but softer and more subtle.