Recipe: Red Bean Mochi
Recipe by Diana Yen, The Jewels of New York Photographs by Seth Smoot
Try our recipe for Red Bean Mochi, a pillow of pounded rice filled with red bean paste.
Mochi is a treat defined by texture. And when stuffed—known in Japanese tradition as daifuku, a pillow of pounded rice that is a confectionary vessel for whatever you fancy putting inside it. Glutinous rice is the key to mochi’s distinct chew, and the flavored filling, red bean paste in this case, is the secret behind its tinge of sweetness that never cloys but always lingers. Subtle and nuanced, mochi is a lovely partner for a picnic and is a perfect companion for a cup of tea.
For the dough
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces / 170 grams) glutinous rice flour
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces / 100 grams) granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups water (8.3 ounces / 245 milliliters)
2 tablespoons (0.7 ounces / 20 grams) black sesame seeds for finishing
Cornstarch for work surface and rolling
Red bean paste
For the dough
Combine the rice flour, sugar and water in a heat-proof bowl. Stir with a spatula until mixture is completely dissolved and smooth. Loosely cover bowl in plastic wrap and microwave for two minutes, then stir well. The dough should be very sticky.
Cover the bowl once again with plastic wrap and microwave for an additional minute. Repeat the microwaving process until the dough springs back when poked with a finger. Allow to rest until cool to the touch.
Dust a clean, dry work surface with cornstarch, and rub some on your hands to keep them from sticking to the dough. With your fingertips, pinch about a tablespoon-size ball of dough and work it on the palm of your hand, flattening and stretching it into a flat, circular piece about three inches in diameter.
Take approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of the red bean paste and roll it into a ball. Place it in the center of disc of dough and pinch it closed.
As a garnish, brush each mochi lightly with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds to finish. Serve.
Note: Glutinous rice flour is available at Asian stores. When purchasing, be sure to look for the “glutinous” label and do not substitute regular rice flour.
Makes about 12 pieces
For the Paste
1 cup (6.5 ounces / 185 grams) dry red azuki beans
3/4 cup (5.25 ounces / 150 grams) granulated sugar
For the Paste
Rinse the beans in water and place in a large pot filled with water. Bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat, then remove from the heat and drain. Return the beans to the pot, add 3 cups (24 ounces / 710 milliliters) of water and once again bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and have absorbed most of the water, 45 to 55 minutes. Should the beans dry out during the cooking period, add more water.
Stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Cool completely before using.
The red bean paste may be made one week ahead of time and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Note: Azuki or adzuki beans are small dry red beans. White, black, gray and spotted varieties exist, but look for the red ones for this recipe.
Makes about 2 cups
Diana Yen, who fell in love with food while at art school, is founder of the Jewels of New York, a creative studio that combines the love of cooking with the beauty of everyday things.