Making Ichigo Daifuku (いちご大福)
Wagashi is a name for traditional Japanese confections that are usually served with tea. There are three basic kinds of wagashi; freshly made Namagashi (生菓子), semi-fresh Han-Namagashi (半生菓子) and dry Higashi (干菓子). Out of the three, I’d have to say my favourite is the namagashi because different shapes and designs are made every season in order to reflect the various faces of Japan’s four seasons and the beauty that comes with it.
So for my first attempt at making a namagashi, I made Ichigo Daifuku (いちご大福), or Strawberry Mochi. I’ve decided on this one because first, though this is in no way culinary-related, I’ve always thought “Ichigo” was a rather masculine-sounding word for strawberries and I kind of like the sound of it and wanted to make something with the word Ichigo in the name.
Second is because this is probably one of the relatively easier wagashi to make and it looks pretty to boot. I’ve already made the Anko beforehand (referring to the post about burnt lip and Rain) but you can always buy pre-made ones. If the Anko is a bit too sweet for your liking, you can substitute it for Shiro-an (white sweet bean paste).
Oh, and before I forget - for the love of humanity, please don’t be as silly as I was and assume that glutinous rice flour = rice flour. They’re not the same thing. I learnt this the hard way when I practiced making it last night (which I’m glad I did, because I’ve never bothered to before with other recipes) with rice flour and ended up with a lumpy, rubbery and rapidly congealing mess of a mochi.
Ichigo Daifuku (recipe from Bossacafez):
[1 cup glutinous rice flour + 1/4 cup icing sugar + 2/3 cup water + 1/2 cup anko (adzuki bean paste) + 6 strawberries + combination of corn flour + icing sugar for dusting ]
Preparing the strawberries:
Wash strawberries and remove the calyxes.
Wrap a strawberry with about a spoonful of adzuki bean paste and round them to make a ball. Make 6 balls.
Making the Mochi:
Put 2/3 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar in a heat-resistant bowl and mix well.
Add glutinous rice flour in the bowl and mix well.
**To cook the dough, you can either:
- Put the bowl in the microwave and heat the dough for two minutes. Stir the dough. Heat the dough in the microwave again until the dough inflates and stir the mochi quickly,
Do it the traditional way, which is to steam the dough above briskly boiling water covered with a lid that’s been wrapped with a clean cloth or tea-towel.
Leave the dough to steam for 10-15 minutes.
Dust a flat pan or a board with some corn flour. Also, dust hands with some flour.
Remove the hot mochi from the bowl to the pan by hands.
Dust hands with more flour and divide the mochi into 6 pieces by hands.
The mochi is hot and sticky, so be careful not to burn your hands.
Make 6 flat and round mochi. Brush off excess flour and put a piece of strawberry and adzuki filling on a mochi piece and wrap it by stretching the mochi.
Round the daifuku to neaten them up. Repeat the process until all the dough has been used up.
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