The Japanese are not known for their desserts. Not many people outside the country have ever enjoyed a fresh yatsuhashi* – and even the Japanese people seem to prefer elaborately layered French cakes and Kit Kat bars over traditional sweets. However, there's a tasty Japanese sweet that's easy to make and tastes delicious. Read on for our strawberry daifuku mochi recipe...
Most people don’t know that Mochi is incredibly simple to make at home and takes only one Asian ingredient, Mochiko. Mochiko is flour made from ground cooked glutinous rice and often used to make delicious mochi, or to thicken sauces. The only tools you need are a microwave and a spatula. Best yet, nobody can stop you from filling your daifuku with whatever you please. Red or white bean paste are traditional choices, but in Hawaii (my hometown), peanut butter, chocolate and even sweet potato are popular fillings.
When I make mochi, I generally add a sweet filling, a mochi variation called “Daifuku”. My favorite is a dab of Koshian (red beat paste) and a ripe fresh strawberry. It’s an easy desert that’s sure to impress the neighbours. (Also, if you can’t find red bean paste, a smear of melted chocolate or a chocolate ganache is another great choice.
How to make Strawberry Daifuku
1 1/2 cups mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup potato starch (you can substitute corn starch)
Pinch of salt
Strawberries & koshian (red bean paste) or your choice of filling
1. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, mix together the mochiko, sugar, salt and water until well blended. Cover loosely with plastic.
2. Microwave for 7 to 8 minutes on high in intervals of 1 minute, removing to stir. When fully cooked, the mochi should be slightly translucent and really really hot.
3. Sprinkle a coating of potato starch onto a working service. I chose a normal kitchen countertop lined with clingfilm for easy clean up. However, a sheet pan or cutting board would work easily well.
WARNING: Be liberal with your potato starch use. Mochi is one of the stickiest substances known to man and will be unworkable and a mess to clean up if it adheres to anything
4. Scrape the Mochi onto your working service. Dust your clean hands with the potato starch.
5. Pull off a piece of mochi. Consider yourself warned- the mochi is incredibly hot. Depending on the sensitivity of your hands, you may want to let it cool a little.
6. Press the mochi piece into a flat circle. The center should be slightly thicker than the edges.
7. Put some filling into the middle. You have just got to experiment with this part. Once you make enough you get an idea of how much fits inside a single mochi.
8. Gather all the edges together like a pouch and twist them together at the top. Be gentle, you don’t want to cause pouch–tearage!
And that’s it! Don’t be discouraged if your strawberry daifuku is a little ugly – Japanese sweet makers spend most of their adult lives learning the art.
Ours are hideous… But one of the best things about daifuku is that it’s delicious even if it’s ugly!
*Yatsuhashi is a Japanese sweet, one of the most famous regional products of Kyoto. Made from glutinous rice flour, sugar and cinnamon.