Around this time of year, I always have a craving for mochi. When I was a little girl I went to a Japanese church with my Grandma and each year after our Christmas celebration, the church would come to together to make this chewy glutinous sweet sticky rice cake. It’s so yummy!
I know now this is called mochitsuki. It’s a Japanese tradition around the new year to make all the yummy mochi. I’ve seen it made traditionally with a huge mallet, with an easy peasy mochi maker, and using mochiko and a steamer but I’ve never attempted to make it for myself. The last time I went to mochitsuki was shortly after the passing of my Grandpa. It was a happy moment after a lot of sadness and I still remember it.
Maybe you mostly think of mochi from anime. Sometimes mochi is eaten with sweet red beans in a ball, in a sweet red bean soup called zoni, or even as a kakigori topping. If you’re an anime geek you probably have seen it in one form or another.
I was set to make daifuku mochi (大福餅). Daifuku means big (or great) luck. I was not completely sure where to start but with a little experimentation, I was able to make this delicious treat. It is honestly much easier than I initially thought it would be and the ingredients are pretty simple.
- 1 cup of Mochiko (sweet rice flour)
- 1/4 cup of white sugar
- 1 cup of water
- Cornstarch or potato starch
- Anko (sweet red bean paste)
- 2 1/2 cups of dried azuki (red beans)
- 2 1/2 cups of brown sugar (can use white sugar)
- salt to taste
- lots of water for cooking and soaking
We will start with how to make anko. This is the hardest and most time-consuming part of making daifuku mochi. Don’t make the mistake I did and not leave yourself enough time to soak the beans. The azuki beans must be soaked 8-12 hours in a huge pot with lots of water or your bean texture will be too gritty. And because this is my first time ever making anko I opted to make the tsubuan type anko. Tsubuan is anko made with beans that still contain the skins. Anko without skins is called koshian. Koshian is made by passing beans through a filter to remove the azuki skins.
- Soak your beans in a big pot with plenty of water 8-12 hours. It’s a long wait but it is totally worth it if you are working with dried azuki.
2. Drain and rinse the soaked azuki beans.
3. Put the beans in the pot with water about 1 to 2 inches above the azuki beans. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. I usually let bubbles go for about 10 minutes before turning the heat off.
4. Pour the beans into a colander. Drain and rinse the beans. I repeated step 3 a second time. This is up to you really.
5. Put the beans back into the pot with lots water. Bring the heat to high and bring to boil. Then turn heat down to medium-low heat and bring the water to a continuous simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer beans for one to three hours or until the beans are soft and not gritty.
6. While the beans are simmering, scoop off foam and add more water if beans are not covered or as needed.
7. The beans are done when they fall apart easily and are soft. Pour beans into a colander and drain water.
8. Put beans back into the large pot, pour in sugar, turn heat to high. Stir making sure not to burn sugar. Keep stirring until sugar thickens a little and beans become very shiny.
9. Turn off heat and add salt to taste. The beans will become thicker as it cools.
Now we are ready for making the mochi! I think in the future I will use potato starch instead of cornstarch. I am not a fan of the flavor and I think it is a little bitter tasting. Nordicmonkey says he can’t taste the cornstarch and ate lots of my mochi.
- First mix the mochiko and sugar together in a bowl.
- Then add water and mix the ingredients well.
3. Pop the mixture into the microwave a minute at a time covered with plastic wrap. The mixture will start to form a thicker dough. Fold the dough into itself as you go until you are happy with the thickness and texture. It may vary depending on your microwave. My mixture was thick enough after the third time in the microwave.
4. On top of a cookie sheet with wax paper spread out cornstarch or potato starch to prevent mochi from sticking to the surface. Cover your hands in the stuff too!
5. Place the mochi mixture onto the surface and flatten the sticky dough. I used my hands but you can use a rolling pin too.
6. Tear off a circular piece of the mochi and place desired amount anko into the center.
7. Bring edges around the anko. Pinch together to close off the mochi around the sweet beans. Place mochi in fancy paper cups or just place on a plate to serve.
8. Make tea and enjoy!
I absolutely love daifuku mochi. It’s so yummy! I need to practice this recipe so I can become a master mochi maker. How about you? Do you like mochi too? How do you like your mochi? Put your Geeky Talk in the comments below and tell us about your mochi experiences.