Saturday, January 02, 2016

Making MOCHI from Scratch

Happy New Year!
Each new year, it always bring back the fond memory of MOCHIZUKI - pounding of cooked glutinous rice into MOCHI cake.  Every year the elders of the family across the street would bring out their Usu and big wooden pounder that looks like a gigantic hammer.  I watch the mother of the family bring out steamed glutinous rice and dump into Usu.  The pounding starts immediately.  It takes two people to complete a turn. A pounder and the flipper.  As the piping hot glutinous rice is pounded the helper would dip their hand into warm water, then flip the rice over right before another stroke of pounder comes down. The motion is so well coordinated that rice is pounded till every grain is pounded into MOCHI (glue like).  Then, everyone in the family and neighbor start working to form them into sweet red bean filled MOCHI cakes - DAIFUKU MOCHI.
 My adventure today is to find out if I can simulate the 'pounding' using  my commercial mixer.   The result?  Success!
7 cups Glutinous rice - washed and soaked for two days in filtered water.  
Steamed for 3 hours over cheesecloth
Get a small bowl of hot water and spatula ready; Place hot rice in mixer bowl immediately; attach dough hook, start kneading first in low speed, 2 minutes; change speed to 2, knead for 5 minutes, trickle 1 Tbsp hot water here and there, stop the machine and turn the rice over well.  Continue kneading at speed 3 until all rice grains are smashed smoothly.  Don't forget to trickle hot water from time to time on the side of the bowl.  Knead about 12 minutes.   Get baking sheets ready with KATAKURIKO -  Japanese Potato Starch. Transfer beaten MOCHI to baking sheet.  Sprinkle the top with potato starch.  Spread the MOCHI with hands.   Cut with biscuit cutter.   
Open a can of red bean paste, stir well, then heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Fill each cut out MOCHI with red bean paste.  Enclose it.  Dab some KATAKURIKO on the bottom and on top of filled MOCHI - DAIFUKU MOCHI to prevent it from sticking to the baking sheet or to each other.  Wrap in plastic bag or sandwich bag.  
The test is to see if this method of DAIFUKU MOCHI will remain soft or hardens like a rock within a day.  Or as soon as it is at room temperature.    When I used automatic MOCHI machine, the MOCHI hardened within an hour. You would notice in the ingredient label of store bought DAIFUKU MOCHI has extra ingredients to extend its shelf life and softness, such as Xanam gum, tapioca starch.  So this will be a great test.  
Line with cheesecloth.
Same old rule - do not and never open the lid to check for doneness. The rice will look plump and shiny.  To refill the steamer's bottom pot, refill only with hard boiling water. 7 cups of soaked glutinous rice would produce about 12 -13 cups of soaked rice.  4 cups rice took about 2 hours of steaming.  9 cups took abut 3 to 3-1/2 hours to cook. 
Transfer to baking sheet covered with KATAKURIKO.  Save some in the bowl and mix with dry mogwart powder.  Then spread it on a baking sheet covered with KATAKURIKO.  Flatten with hands, fingers and cut out with biscuit cutter.   Fill with red bean paste and enclose it.   
Ready for sharing.

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