May 2, 2010

Not-So-Stressful Microwave Mochi

"'You always start with the dessert, that's your problem,' Emory said. And he was right, I was already eating the pudding. One thing I'd discovered from years of institutional food was that a certain kind of custard survived the huge kitchens, even flourished there. The little odd square dessert in TV dinners; the airplane cobbler; I still remembered a butterscotch pudding from a dormitory cafeteria. And it was impossible to resist a dessert when I hadn't had enough sleep. This was warm custard with berries."
-- Mona Simpson, The Lost Father
"Desserts is stressed spelled backwards." As much as I'd like to take credit, I didn't realize that on my own; a Dylan's Candy Bar T-shirt alerted me to this fun fact.

Mayan/Ann is a little bit annoying in this sequel, but I guess I can forgive her. The girl was stressed, ergo she ate plenty of desserts on her search for 'the lost father.' And so it should be.

I, on the other hand, crave desserts even when I'm not especially stressed. The dessert I endeavored to make on this very un-stressful Sunday afternoon was daifuku: mochi stuffed with a sweet filling, usually anko, or sweet red bean paste. The process is surprisingly easy and it involves a microwave. Yay for radiation!

5-minute Microwavable Mochi
3/4 cup sweet rice flour (mochiko flour)
3/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 cup sugar (optional - omit if you're going to fill the mochi with sweet red bean paste)
Tapioca or corn starch, for shaping

Combine all the ingredients except tapioca/corn starch in a microwavable bowl; stir until smooth. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes on high. While that's happening, sprinkle a generous layer of tapioca or corn starch on a cutting board or other clean surface.

When the mochi is finished, it will appear opaque and sticky. It shouldn't be runny at all. Remove the bowl with an towel or oven mitt, since it will be hot. Undo the plastic wrap, being careful to avoid the hot steam that will escape. Use a spoon to scoop the mochi onto the prepared cutting board. It will look a little scary at this point. Don't panic if you can't get it off the spoon. Just do your best.

Corn starch will be your best friend for the next few minutes. Make sure to coat your fingers with it before attempting to handle the monstrously sticky mochi. Cut it into manageable chunks with a plastic knife (amazingly, the mochi doesn't seem to stick to it much, and it gives a clean cut). You can either eat it like this, on top of ice cream or frozen yogurt (a la Pinkberry), or you can make daifuku - filled mochi.

If you venture down the daifuku route, and want to fill yours with sweet red bean paste, you can get some at the Japanese market. Mine came in a pouch. Simply squeeze some onto a flat disc of mochi (it's ok if it's coated with corn starch) and shape the mochi dough around the red bean paste to form an enclosed ball. Yes, my instructions are pretty bad...but if you possess an ounce of common sense, you should be fine.

Unfortunately, you may find that your fingers will get slightly grouchy from handling the hot mochi, but it may be too hard to shape if it gets too cool. You can be bold and wait until it's cooled before shaping it, if you wish. I, however, have the memory of a gluttonous goldfish, so I forgot about all that scorched finger nonsense upon taking the first heavenly bite. Hopefully you will, too.


mit said...

thanks - i discovered some mochiko the other day and look forward to having a go at your recipe :)

thefattyreader said...

thanks for reading - let me know how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

Trying it tonight ! Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

came across your blog via wikipedia of the first things i do when visiting hawaii is to find some large daifuku mochi. now, with your instructions, i can enjoy anytime with memories of hawaii (were i am now)! thank you...

Anonymous said...

I just ate half my daily calories in raspberry-flavored mochi. Amazing. Horrifying that it went that quickly, but delicious.

Genevieve said...

I, too, was forwarded here from Wikipedia - and this is an easy, GREAT-tasting recipe! My mochi daifuku tasted just like the ones I bought in Oriental grocery stores. Thanks for posting, especially since I've never made mochi before this and had no idea where to look besides the internet :)

dBouchette said...

Me, too, coming from Wikipedia. Fantastic recipe! I used plastic spoons & plastic knife for forming...never burning any fingers. Next batch will be rolled in powdered green tea...

UTAHIME said...

Hi from Japan! It was nice to see all the people across the world making Daifuku-mochi! I make them once in a while, and what I like is making them with anko and strawberries or Hassaku. Hassaku is a kind of citrus fruits. Look like a giant Mikan. It's less sweetness and a bit of bitterness. I put some anko on a plastic wrap and press it with a palm of my hand, wrap a fruits (strawberries or Hassaku) with anko, and then wrap with mochi. You can see how it made here.
You might want to be careful choosing the fruits for Daifuku not too soft or jucy. You see, anko stays good without fruits juice so, after you wash your berries, pat dry jently and never cut them.
Anyway, I'm so happy to see the Daifuku-mochi is popular here! Thanks!!

Maisie Collins said...

This is really an excellent blog as well as its content.