Monday, July 20, 2009

Strawberry Daifuku Mochi: An Unmitigated Disaster

**Edit Aug 25, 2009** My gf lent a hand in making these again and with her help and my last experience in mind, they didn't turn out so badly this time.

Regarding the anko which was the main issue last time, my gf convinced me to pick up some Chinese red bean paste at the local Chinatown supermarket. While it was more pasty and was moldable, I don't think this has quite the right taste. If I were to make this again, I'd probably look up how to make the red bean paste on my own.

Lastly, as for the mochiko (glutinous flour) gram measurement fiasco, we ended up using 1 cup as suggested by Kiteekake's recipe. Despite the recipe saying it made 10 mochi, we ended up with 12 and still thought that each ball had too much mochi. Our preference is that the mochi layer be pretty thin, which might be fairly challenging, given how hot the mochi can be when it first comes out and how quickly it cools and becomes unmanageable afterward.

**Original Post**

After stumbling upon ChocolateAndZucchini's Recipe for Ichigo (Strawberry) Daifuku Mochi, I became rather intrigued with making these. After hearing her describe freshly made daifuku as having "glow and bounce" and seeing her gorgeous pictures...

well it was kind of hard to resist trying, despite never having made anything like this before.

I did a bit more poking around the internet, watching the CookingWithDog video...

... and reading Kiteekake's recipe and eGullet's thread (both of which also have some great looking photos as well).

For those too lazy to click over to any of the recipes (dude, really?), the basic gist is first wrapping the strawberry in red bean paste (anko), secondly cooking up the sticky rice blob (mochi) for 10 minutes and then wrapping the red bean/strawberry with the still warm mochi, which slightly hardens when cooled.

For the 3 specifically Japanese ingredients needed, anko (red bean paste), mochiko/shiratamako (glutinous rice flour) and katakuriko, I was originally planning on trekking out to Philadelphia's (Narberth's) Maido grocery store, which I have never been to. But I had a trip to New York City for something unrelated and ended up stopping by the small Japanese grocery store in Manhattan, Katagiri, instead.

3 ingredients from Japanese grocery store: Katakuriko, Anko, Mochiko

As you might have noticed, I put an X-mark by the can of anko. This is the start of where things begin to unravel. Here's a screenshot from the CookingWithDog video of what the anko is supposed to look like, a paste of red beans:

Here's what mine looked like:

That's right. A baked beans consistency. Aw cripes.

ChocolateAndZucchini actually mentioned that there are different types of anko and according to Wikipedia, there are the 4 types of anko:

  • Tsubuan (粒餡), whole red beans boiled with sugar but otherwise untreated
  • Tsubushian (潰し餡), where the beans are mashed after boiling
  • Koshian (漉し餡), which has been passed through a sieve to remove bean skins; the most common type
  • Sarashian (晒し餡), which has been dried and reconstituted with water

I suspect that I got the tsubuan, whereas the intended one was koshian.

Not to be deterred, I proceeded onward and came up with the following strategy. I strained the liquid from the anko, globbed them over the strawberries, put them in saran wrap balls and threw them in the freezer, so that they would be solid for the mochi wrapping.

Next up, making the mochi.

Oh wait. Wait a minute, what's' this? This recipe uses grams for the mochiko. Wait, what? You're supposed to weigh this?

(I told you I've never really done stuff like this before.)

Anyways, to make a long story short, I ended up using an online cooking measurement converter to give me an estimate of how much I should use and proceeded with the rest of ChocolateAndZucchini's recipe.

And needless to say, things turned didn't turn out so great.

I'm quite embarassed to show you my final product. Remember how good the pictures of the daifuku looked. Scroll back up and take a look.

Well here's mine:

Mutants so disfigured I could only laugh every time I saw them.

To make things worse, this is the picture right after finishing forming the balls. You have to let them sit for sometime to cool and after this period, these guys started to bleed anko/strawberry juice, making them far uglier.

As far as taste goes, well they were so-so, but I suspect not quite as good as they could have been.

Le sigh. I'll be trying to make these things again soon, hopefully with better results.

eGullet's thread

($Cooking, $Dessert, $Japanese)

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