My Japanese husband isn’t at all a big fan of traditional Japanese confections, wagashi 和菓子. Especially those filled with red bean paste Anko 餡子, I never have to include his share.
Over the summer, I got hooked on this one and for the umpteenth time I kept making it at home. My children were almost tired of eating, but my husband actually took a fancy and feasted on my Warabi-mochi わらび餅 like he never had before.
Soft sticky mochi generously coated with aromatic Kinako and best served with healthy Kuromitsu, the combination of the trio was magnificent.
Though it was amateurish the way I made, I liked to pair them up with a warm cup of Matcha 抹茶. Subtle sweetness of Kinako きな粉 and Kuromitsu 黒蜜 elegantly complimented the delicate bittersweet flavour of the fleshly brewed and pleasantly left a clean invigorating aftertaste lingered on my palate .
I baked biscuits and cakes but to make wagashi, this was my first time. Have you ever been keen but don’t know where to start?
This recipe that I’m sharing today is pretty an easy one to give any beginners the confidence to enjoy making your first. But before you start, let me share with you more about these 3 core ingredients.
Bracken starch blend flour, Warabi mochi-ko わらび餅粉
Warabi-mochi were traditionally made with pure bracken starch Warabi-ko わらび粉. However, it was scarce and often not as readily available as people wanted it to.
Instead, what’s more commonly found on shelves is a kind of starch blend flour called Warabi mochi- ko わらび餅粉. It gives a soft, rather chewy texture and has a translucent appearance. Below are two of the kind I’ve used so far.
If you are unable to find anything similar, try using Potato starch Katakuri-ko 片栗粉 alternatively. I did an impromptu test with it the other day and the result turned out to be incredibly well.
Katakuri-ko makes an ideal substitution. It gives us a much softer and less chewy kind of mochi which I find it easy enough for young children and elderly to swallow and digest.
Roasted soya powder, Kinako きな粉
Kinako is a superfood and very often my health conscious husband would urge me to incorporate more of it in our daily diet.
What is Kinako, anyway? Kinako, a wonderful source of plant-based protein, is produced by grinding roasted soybeans finely into powder. High in dietary fibre, it has super anti-aging power and helps hair growth.
Frankly, I didn’t like it for these benefits. I was more attracted to its subtle sweetness and nutty aroma that tasted very much like freshly roasted peanuts.
Among the few variations I’ve tried, I found both original and black soya beans Kinako 黒豆きな粉 similar. But for a stronger nutty aroma, I gave thumbs up to the latter.
Matcha Kinako 抹茶きな粉 is for anyone who likes the bittersweetness of Matcha. When serving to children, on the other hand, I suggest you to stick back to the original one.
Japanese style treacle, Kuromitsu 黒蜜
I discovered the beauty of this wonderful syrup when I started learning how to eat wagashi. Kuromitsu 黒蜜 is a luxurious brown sugar syrup made from the flavourful Okinawa’s Kokoto sugar 黒糖.
Though it doesn’t have the same kind of thickly rich texture like American molasses, it is full of nutrients. With an addictive mellow sweetness, it is mostly seen pairing up with traditional wagashi, but nowadays people like them with western desserts as well.
Chunky chewy Warabi Mochi
For approximately 12-15 pieces
Prep time 5mins, cooking time 20-25mins
To save/print recipe, click here.
50g of Warabi mochi-ko
20-30g of fine sugar
*If you’re using Katakuri-ko
50g of Katakuri-ko
20-30g fine sugar
2-3 Tbsp of Kinako
1 Tbsp of fine sugar
A pinch of salt
Kuromitsu for drizzle
1. Combine warabi mochi-ko (or katakuri-ko), sugar and water all in a small pot.
In a pot, combine warabi mochi-ko and sugar together and blend them well. Add water next, stir until the starch dissolves completely.
2. Place the pot under medium-low heat and stir until mixture thickens.
Place the pot on a medium-low heat and stir continuously. As it warms up, the mixture will thicken and eventually solidifies into a translucent paste-like form. Turn off heat but continue to stir fast until you get a soft smooth paste.
3. Transfer the paste to a small tray and cool it down in water bath.
Transfer the paste into a small tray (mine was about 17.5cm x 11.5cm x 2cm). Use a rubber spatula to help you when scraping off any remaining. Spread the paste evenly across the tray and cool it in a water bath for 15-20 minutes.
4. Take mochi out from tray and coat with Kinako.
Prepare a bigger tray and fill it with Kinako, sugar and salt. Remove the other tray from water bath and you should see a translucent, soft solid block – that’s mochi. Gently transfer the mochi over to the bigger tray. Coat it with Kinako on all sides and sprinkle more if required.
5. Cut mochi into cubes and toss them with more Kinako.
Cut mochi into thick stripes first and then cubes with a knife or anything that is easy for you. Toss the cubes with more Kinako until every each of them is well-coated. Finally, serve with Kuromitsu if desired.
Freshly-made Warabi-mochi is best to consume immediately or within the same day you make.
Do not refrigerate freshly-made mochi or any leftover as it will turn white and hard. Instead wrap with a clingfilm and keep it in room temperature.
Warabi-mochi is soft, chewy and somewhat sticky. Young children and elderly may find it hard to swallow well. Do cut them into smaller bite-size pieces for easier consumption.
What do I like about this dish?
Warabi-mochi is famously a summer dessert but you can still enjoy the best of it with a warm cup of tea on a grey autumn afternoon.
Low in fat and a great source of dietary fibre – these little chewy cubes aren’t only just refreshing to eat and they are moreish – I find it a healthy perfect tea break nosh.
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To save/print recipe, click here.