July 10, 2012

MOTOism: Blueberry Mochi

by Moto

Hi, welcome to my new column, MOTOism. I’ll mostly be cooking here, as always, with the occasional restaurant rant, to keep everyone on their toes.

It’s summer, it’s hot, and it’s time to make an easy dessert that doesn’t boil the kitchen. Over the weekend, I made batches of macarons, but I still haven’t figured out my new oven so most of them were disastrous.  Plus the turning oven on when it’s 90˚F outside is pretty stupid.

I had some friends over and needed a simple dessert that doesn’t require baking, and I had shiratama-ko in the pantry, and googled around for something interesting.

Shiratama-ko is a widely used glutinous rice flour in Japan. Like MOchi-ko, it’s made from mochigome rice; however through special processing, its properties are significantly changed — the rice is washed, soaked in water and ground very finely in water (in a kind of special mill). The milky white liquid is then pressed, dried and crushed. The flour isn’t a fine powder but coarse granules.

When you make shiratama (soft mochi balls), you usually mix it with water and sugar, but I found out you can substitute the water (and sugar for that matter) with watery foods, such as tofu, fruit, etc. The key for shiratama is add enough liquid to make the texture similar to an earlobe.

Shiratama-ko looks like this.

Crush some blueberries to make it liquid-y, then add them to shiratama-ko.

I used a fork, but you can use a food processor to make it smoother.

Now mix it together.

Since the shiratama-ko itself is coarse, it will take some time to incorporate them with the blueberries. As you can see below, the white freckles are the undissolved bits of flour.

You can feel the flour is really coarse, so you should leave the whole dough out for about five minutes. This will help soften the flour and will be easier to mix.

If the dough is too sticky to form a ball, that means it’s too soft.  You need to add more shiratama-ko.

Once you reach the texture of earlobe, and nothing sticks to your hand, or bowl, that’s the consistency you need.

Form them into flat disks.

Boil some water, and cook them until they float. Scoop them into an ice bath.

With the leftover blueberries, I made sauce (with sugar, a bit of water and lemon) and poured it over the mochi.

This is a very interesting idea, and tasted very light. If you like mochi texture, this is definitely something you should try. I will definitely experiment with different fruits.

This was part of the dinner I hosted, and just to show people out there that I am not full of shit, here is what else I made. Appetizer platter, from left, lightly pickled cucumber and bean sprouts, watermelon, shiso pesto gazpacho shot, trio of sashimi (salmon, hamachi, and tuna) with soy sauce and sesame oil dressing with julienne shiso on top.

I made everything myself, obviously.

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