Friday, May 31, 2013

#128 Cocoa Mochi

While at the grocery store heading towards the dairy section to pick up milk, I noticed a box of sweet rice flour, the price was half off; I never fail to notice a discounted price at  grocery stores even if I am walking really fast, those yellow and red labels are just so hard to miss! :)  And don't we all get distracted at the grocery store and end up buying what wasn't planned? And that's what, as always, happened to me. So I picked up this small white box with a blue star and read the package. I haven't bought rice flour ever but  a former neighbor bought me a bag like 5 years ago. It was never used. I was going to put it back into the shelf but then I realized this was a different rice flour: it's a "sweet rice flour" and then I saw a recipe printed on it's box: Cocoa Mochi. A Japanese rice cake dessert,  it is a traditional food eaten on Japanese New Years' day. I remembered buying mochi ice cream at Trader Joe's a while ago and it was chewy, sweet, a delight! That memory convinced me to make mochi for dessert. For less than a dollar, I thought why not...I bought the 1 pound box of Koda Farm's Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour and immediately started making it when we got home. I read the directions and it looked pretty easy, it can be made in the microwave oven, shouldn't be that hard, right? I was excited. Mixing it with the water and sugar was a breeze, it dissolved easily. Then came the cooking part. One thing that  I did not like: once the rice flour is cooked, it sticks everywhere! The moulding requires a lot of patience, before I worked on the shape, I made sure my hands were wet, this trick by the way will save you  all the frustration in making a decent looking sticky mochi. How the talented home cooks make it so fabulous looking, you know, perfectly round, with ice cream inside, by hand.. is beyond me. This recipe calls for cocoa for dusting ( to prevent it from sticking). But if you want to add food coloring, a few drops will give it a nice pastel color, and then you can skip the cocoa powder for dusting and  use potato starch or powdered sugar instead.

COCOA MOCHI (Easy Microwave Version)

2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 box  Mochiko Blue Star Brand Sweet Rice Flour
3 cups water
extra cocoa powder for dusting

  1. In medium saucepan, using a whisk, combine sugar and cocoa together very thoroughly. Then add 1 cup water and mix well. Heat syrup over medium high, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Using a whisk, thoughly mix flour and 3 cups water in a large microwavable bowl until smooth. Cover and microwave 5 minutes on high. Remove from oven and using a large spoon, mix thoroughly. Return to oven, uncovered, and cook an additional 5 minutes on high.
  3. Remove from oven. Add cocoa syrup and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch nonstick baking pan lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Let mochi cool overnight or until firm.
  5. Dust top with cocoa powder and invert contents onto a cutting board dusted with cocoa powder (before inverting pan, gently pull the mochi along the pan sides free).
  6. Cut mochi into small pieces and dust all surfaces in cocoa powder.
  7. Store in airtight container and refrigerate.

The result: a chewy, dense mochi with just the right sweetness for us.  I really like this recipe. So, was it easy? Well I  really thought it was, microwave cooking almost always means easy heating/cooking, right?... certainly not in this case, the ease stopped at the moment I put the bowl inside the microwave oven and pressed it's buttons! "No pain, no gain" was my mantra from start to end. The process got harder and stickier as the mixture starts to cook. I had some patience enough to finish the task but  I was complaining too much the whole time! More patience next time. If you really want to make this yourself, don't be discouraged, it's really not THAT hard...just a little bit and on that day, I was a tad whinier than the usual, so... :) But honestly, it was definitely well worth  the effort! :) We made and really enjoyed a delicious Cocoa Mochi!

My next project is  mochi ice cream! I did try making it using this batch after the cooked Mochi has cooled down, but the ice cream melted the second it touched the Mochi, but I am not giving up! I will keep searching for a recipe on how to properly do it. Please share a good recipe in the comment section if you have one!

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