The other day A and M really wanted daifuku as an after school snack. Have we ever made daifuku as an after school snack? No. But that didn’t stop their craving, and I agreed to check online to see if we could find directions to make our own. The girls love daifuku, but it costs almost $2 per cake here and always comes wrapped in plastic, so it’s an infrequent treat for us. We’ve seen mochi made the traditional way at the Mochi Tsuki festival here, and the girls have taken turns pounding the rice. I assumed it would be too complicated to make at home. Was I ever wrong! The recipe we found at VeganYumYum made it look almost too easy to be true, but it really is true: This is fast and easy food.
We zipped off to the store for the ingredients we needed, a (BPA-free) can of azuki beans and a box of mochiko, even though I still had my doubts about how well this experiment would go. In case you’re calculating the carbon footprint of this snack, please note that I also picked up our week’s worth of groceries at the same time (yes, I’m still feeling the effects of our No Impact Week).
We mixed up a batch of red bean paste using agave syrup instead of sugar and set that to cool. We followed the directions for the first batch of mochi, using raw sugar with the mochiko, water, and sea salt. Three minutes later, we had lovely hot mochi, ready to wrap around a bit of bean paste…The bean paste was also hot but we managed to squish together 12 daifuku, more than we needed for dessert. They all disappeared, anyway.
If I had taken the time to watch Lolo of VeganYumYum’s daifuku video, I’d have been more assertive with the mochi to form it into rounds. We went with squares and triangles since that was easy and the mochi and bean paste were both quite hot – The fastest shapes possible seemed beautiful to our steamed hands.
The girls loved them so much, I made another batch this morning. I used rapadura (unrefined, unbleached, and non-crystallized dehydrated cane juice) instead of refined sugar, and the daifuku turned out a beautiful translucent brown. No, it’s not the healthiest breakfast by any stretch, but there you have it. Sometimes, I just need to get some calories into A, my reluctant eater.
Now, if I can just find someone who sells sweet brown rice flour, I could make a less processed version of daifuku…If you happen to know where to find such a flour, please do let me know!
Here’s my version of the Vegan Yum Yum’s daifuku:
1 cup mochiko sweet rice flour
1/4 cup rapadura (unrefined, uncrystallized cane sugar), date sugar, or coconut sugar
2/3 cup water
- Sprinkle a good coating of tapioca starch on a clean cutting board or other kitchen work surface.
- Have your daifuku filling ready to go next to your working area. My girls prefer red bean paste over everything else, but sometimes we mix it up and use fresh berries (just a raspberry or two per daifuku, or a few blueberries), chopped dates, peanut butter, or home made marzipan.
- Stir everything together in a microwave safe bowl until you’ve got a smooth paste.
- Microwave on high for 2 minutes, uncovered.
- Remove from microwave and stir to mix well. This will take some arm power. Persevere!
- Put the bowl back in the microwave for 1 minute. Watch the last few seconds of cooking – The second the microwave stops, open the door. You should see the ball of mochi deflate. If it doesn’t, heat it for another 30 seconds and check for that immediate deflation. Continue as necessary until you get there – It really shouldn’t take longer than 4 total minutes of cooking at high power.
- Turn your hot mochi out on to the starch-covered spot. Let it cool a few seconds, then flip it carefully over to coat both sides with starch. Press down carefully to form a rectangle of even thickness. I stop when the mochi is about 1/2″ thick all around.
- Cut the rectangle of mochi into 12 squares.
- Working quickly, pick up one square at a time, using your fingers to pat and squeeze and pull it so each side is about 2″ long.
- Nestle the square in one palm and place a little ball or bite of your filling inside (about 1 tsp, maybe a bit more), then pull the opposing corners of the mochi over the filling, pinching the corners together to seal. Do this with the other pair of corners, then do the same thing with the other new corners to end up with a circular daifuku. Just keep pinching and prodding to get there – At this point, the mochi is so hot, it will easily seal up and keep its form.
- Turn your finished daifuku over and let it rest while you fill and seal the other squares.
- The key here is to work quickly so the mochi is still hot when you’re forming that last piece. Cold mochi is not as stretchy, and it won’t want to seal and form a circle. Start working as soon as your fingers can stand it without needing medical attention for burns.