mochi two ways: traditional azuki red bean paste & crazy cookie butter

Oct 14

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I’ve posted a few mochi recipes in the past:

All of the recipes above were baked mochi.  I’m going to share with you THE most easiest stove-top method of making mochi.  Okay well here’s one caveat: it may be easy, but will require some work and elbow grease (more on that later).

Mochi is a comfort dessert/snack in Hawaii.  However, it’s also symbolic and deeply rooted in Japanese tradition.  As I mentioned in my post Chocolate Covered Mochi Bites with Toasted Coconut, my husband and I continue with some traditions that we grew up with–such as the “Good Luck” Ozoni soup that contains plain mochi, which we have every New Years.

On our last trip home we visited the Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo, which is THE spot to get mochi in all of the Big Island.  So of course we decided to drive over to Hilo.  The town is one of my old “stomping grounds” since I attended college at UH-Hilo.  Such fond memories of my first time being independent and really growing up.

The Two Ladies Kitchen embodies the spirit and endearment of Hawaii.  It’s a local business that takes pride in handcrafted mochi and other Japanese confections.

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It’s a small business that doesn’t mass produce their product and when it’s gone for the day, it’s gone.  Mochi is perishable and will only keep for a couple of days and because of this the Two Ladies Kitchen make fresh mochi on a daily basis.  I found an old article from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on the Two Ladies Kitchen.  It talks about their history and their business model and why they remain successful as a smaller local owned business.

Two Ladies Kitchen Article from the Honolulu-Star Bulletin

We arrived there a little early and even then there was a line!

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One of their most popular item is the strawberry mochi.  A plump sweet strawberry is covered with tsubushian (coarse azuki or red bean paste) and then wrapped in soft chewy mochi.

I barely made it to the car before I took one longing bite:

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We of course picked up a few of their assorted packs of mochi for ourselves and as gifts for other family on the Kona-side.

I can’t quite remember all of the flavors in our container, but I can assure you that it was just delicious . . . every little bite.  This photo does not do it justice on how beautiful the mochi was, but it was the best I could do late in the evening back at our hotel . . . before I probably ate it all in one sitting!

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If you are ever in Hilo and love mochi you definitely need to go to the Two Ladies Kitchen located on 274 Kilauea Avenue.

My craving for mochi was sated during that trip (back in June), however most recently it came out of “dormancy” when my cousin asked me to send her some cookie butter.  Huh?  What does cookie butter have to do with a mochi craving?  Well she told me she wanted the cookie butter as filling for mochi!  And just like that I sooo had to have mochi again.

I’m not sure how it all started this year, but cookie butter is in demand and the craze in Hawaii right now. It probably has something to do with bringing back Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter as omiyage.  Omiyage are gifts brought back for family and friends and usually are items that cannot be found back home.  Perhaps someone brought back to Hawaii cookie butter as omiyage and the word of this heaven in a jar quickly spread–literally too!

I’ve made microwave mochi before, but didn’t like the consistency.  I did an internet search for a stove-top method, but then immediately felt quite silly.  Why?  I have a personal source that would definitely know and gladly give me a recipe–my mother-in-law!

My husband emailed her and got back a couple of recipes.  Score!  There was a common ingredient in all that surprised me-corn syrup!  So I research the attributes and found that corn syrup is often used in foods to soften the texture, add volume, and to preserve foods longer.

With only three main ingredients (not including your choice of filling) it really is easy to make.  But be warned it does take some elbow grease when stirring it on the stove, fingers that are semi-heat proof, and quick hands to roll and fill the mochi.

I used two fillings this time for the mochi–of course cookie butter and traditional koshian or fine azuki red bean paste.  Call me nostalgic, but I preferred the koshian filled mochi (pink below).

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Here is the recipe from my mother-in-law who is one of the best cooks and bakers!  She has always been willing to share her recipes.  I only hope that one day my daughter will give up her aversion to mochi (I am very hopeful since she ate some pumpkin mochi I recently made) and I can pass this recipe onto her.

Instant Mochi with Filling (Stove-top Method)

Serves 20
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Region Japanese
Delicate and soft mochi filled with two different fillings: traditional azuki or red bean paste (koshi an or tsubushian) and cookie butter. This is a favorite and cherished snack/dessert for the locals in Hawaii.

Ingredients

Mochi

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 box mochiko or sweet rice flour (16 oz box)
  • liquid or gel food coloring (optional)
  • katakuriko-potato starch (for dusting--if not available cornstarch can be substituted)

Filling

  • koshian or tsubushian (fine or coarse azuki or red bean paste)
  • cookie butter or peanut butter

Directions

Filling
Step 1 Shape your filling (azuki red bean paste or cookie/peanut butter) in one inch balls--using a small cookie scoop will make this much easier and your filling will be uniformed in shape. Place in refrigerator while you make the mochi.
Mochi
Step 2 In a large pan, boil water and corn syrup. Add food coloring, optional.
Step 3 Once the water comes to a boil, lower heat. Slowly add mochiko to the water and stir constantly. In this step you may need a helper to hold the pot while you stir. The mixture will harden quickly and you'll have to mix until smooth. There should be no visible raw mochiko and the texture should be elastic-like and glossy. If it appears to be too hard, add a little water.
Step 4 Sprinkle potato or corn starch on a board and place the hot mochi directly on it. The mochi will be very hot, but you'll need to fold it over a few times and shape into a log.
Step 5 You can either use a plastic knife or break off 1 1/2 inch pieces. Roll mochi into a ball and flatten it out. Place filling in the center and wrap the mochi around the filling. Pinch the ends to seal and smooth out the seam.

Note

The fillings I used were azuki or red bean paste (koshian) and cookie butter.  You can definitely fill mochi with just about anything.  A favorite in Hawaii is a strawberry wrapped in red bean paste.  The other is plain peanut butter.  Stay away from fillings that can seep out or be more liquid in nature.

Mochi is extremely sticky.  The use of either potato or corn starch is crucial for ease of shaping and to prevent sticking.

Place mochi on wax or parchment paper and store in an airtight container.  It can only keep for a couple of days.

Although I did prefer the traditional filled mochi with koshian, I did get a thumbs up on the cookie butter from someone else–he’s a cutie isn’t he?!  A huge thank you again to my mother-in-law for sharing her recipe!

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1 comment

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