For the Japanese, one of the traditional food items eaten around the New Year is mochi, a sweet treat made of glutinous rice. Cooked glutinous rice is pounded with a bit of water to create a sticky dough, and various fillings are then added. The most common is red bean. Here is a video of the mochi-making process in Japan.
As a child, we often picked up one of the larger versions whenever we visited the Japanese supermarket. It was never cheap, but it never occurred to us to try and make it at home. Who would have thought that mochi would be so easy to make?! It's even easier with pre-made filling. Just a few inexpensive ingredients (except the paste filling) and 30-45 minutes can yield what would have cost at least three times to buy pre-made. The texture may not be exactly the same, but it's a fair trade given the recipe's simplicity and low cost. Its definitely worth a try if you like mochi. The variations can then be limitless and tailored to your tastes.
Red Bean Mochi -- Yields 6 large mochi
- 160g glutinous rice flour
- 15g sugar
- 1.4g salt
- 173g water
- Red bean paste
- Mix all 4 ingredients together.
- Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
- Remove and stir with a strong utensil (wooden/metallic spoon, fork, etc).
- Cover again and microwave for another 1 minute.
- Remove and stir 100 times.
- Cover work surface and hands with flour (corn starch, tapioca, etc).
- Roll the dough out and separate into equal portions.
- Roll the red bean paste into balls of desired size.
- Wrap the rice dough over the red bean dough: flatten the rice flour dough, place the red bean paste ball on top, wrap the sides of the flour dough around the red bean ball until fully surrounded.
- Roll finished mochi in a bit of flour (corn starch, tapioca, etc). Store in air-tight container and refrigerate.