Botamochi (ぼたもち or 牡丹餅) are a Japanese sweet made with glutinous rice, rice (ratio of 7:3, or only glutinous rice) and sweet azuki paste (red bean paste). They are made by soaking glutinous rice mixed rice (or only glutinous rice) for approximately 1 hour. The rice is then cooked, and a thick azuki paste is hand-packed around pre-formed balls of rice. Botamochi is eaten as sacred food as offering during the weeks of the spring and the autumn Higan in Japan. A very similar sweet, ohagi (おはぎ), uses a slightly different texture of azuki paste, but is otherwise almost identical. It is made in autumn. Some recipe variations in both cases call for a coating of soy flour to be applied to the botamochi/ohagi after the azuki paste. The two different names are derived from the Botan (peony) which blooms in the spring and the Hagi (Japanese bush clover or Lespedeza) which blooms during autumn. Botamochi is the modern name for the dish Kaimochi (かいもち) mentioned in the Heian Period text Uji Shūi Monogatari (宇治拾遺物語). The proverb Tana kara botamochi (棚からぼたもち), literally "a botamochi falls down from a shelf", means "receiving a windfall", "a lucky break".
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