Monday, July 18, 2011

daifuku mochi

Mochi is the Japanese word for a soft rice cake. When mochi has a sweet filling it's called daifuku or daifuku mochi.  A very common sweet filling is red bean.  Think of it like a rice cake bon bon.  While mochi is a Japanese interpretation similar rice cakes can be found in many other Asian or Pacific Islander nations.  For Americans a common association with mochi is with ice-cream or as a small white topping found at frozen yogurt places.

If you live in Orange County, CA check out Mochilato in Irvine.  Their twist on mochi is to fill mochi with Italian gelato.  Yumm!  Although it's pricey it's also really tasty.  Their shaved ice is also really good.  Great place to go for dessert if you're on a date or if you have a group...the only fun way to eat shaved ice is with friends.

Homemade mochi is relatively easy to make.  You just need to work fast and expect the first couple of ones to turn out weird.  It was much too difficult to take pictures during the process because my hands were covered with cornstarch but here's the receipe:

Red Bean Daifuku Mochi (recipe from Alice K.)
1 box of Mochiko sweet rice powder
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 - 3 cups of cold water (start with 2 1/2 cups and increase as needed)
1 can of mashed red bean paste
1/4 cup of corn or potato startch
Small cupcake liners
(you'll need a microwaveable steamer as well)

1. Mix all ingredients except starch and red bean paste in the microwaveable steamer.  Mix until a peanut butter consistency is reached.  Lock steamer lid and microwave 4 min.  Open and stir mixture once more and microwave for additional 4 min.

2. Cover work surface and hands liberally with starch.  Scoop 1/3 of the mixture on to work surface and roll to a snake-like shape.  Cut a small piece and flatten to create a circle.  Fill the circle with red bean filling and gather the edges of the circle and pinch closed.  Lightly dust the outside of the mochi with starch to prevent the rice paste from drying out.

3. Let the mochi cool on a tray dusted with starch.  Place mochi in cupcake liners when completely cool.  Finished mochi can also be put in the freezer for later.  

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