When it comes to Japanese desserts, I can’t help but rave about mochi. It’s undeniably one of the most popular treats here, and I’ve had the pleasure of trying many types. Each variation seems to be a burst of unique flavors.
Daifuku is one of many types of mochi, standing out as my favorite. Not only is it incredibly tasty, but this dessert is also relatively easier to make compared to some of its counterparts.
The name “daifuku” literally translates to “great luck” in Japanese. It’s made of soft, glutinous rice flour and the delectable filling, often sweetened red bean paste (anko) or other creative choices. There is a diverse array of daifuku, I decided to make Ichigo Daifuku (Strawberry Mochi) – the one with a whole strawberry as the filling, along with the sweet red bean paste.
Here is how to make Strawberry Mochi – Ichigo Daifuku:
Ichigo Daifuku – Strawberry Mochi
- 1 pound Fresh strawberries
- 1 cup Sweet red bean paste Anko – store-bought or homemade
- 1 cup Glutinous rice flour Mochiko
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- Potato starch or cornstarch for dusting
- Wash and hull the strawberries, leaving them whole.
- If using store-bought, skip to the next step. If making from scratch, simmer azuki beans until tender, then sweeten with sugar (adjust the sugar to your taste). Mash or blend into a paste.
- Take a small amount of sweet red bean paste and wrap each strawberry, ensuring it’s completely covered.
- In a bowl, mix glutinous rice flour, sugar (1/4 cup), and water until smooth.
- Microwave the mochi dough mixture for 30 seconds at a time. After each 30-second interval, take the bowl out of the microwave, stir the mixture, and then put it back in for another 30 seconds. Repeat this process until the mochi dough becomes sticky and translucent. The total microwave time is about 2-3 minutes. If it's overcooked, the mochi can become tough.
- Dust a clean surface with potato starch or cornstarch.
- Divide the mochi into equal portions and flatten each portion into a small disc. Place a small amount of anko (sweet red bean paste) in the center of each mochi disc. Add a fresh strawberry on top of the red bean paste. Carefully fold the mochi over the filling, pinching the edges to seal and form a smooth ball. Repeat until all strawberries are wrapped in mochi.
- Dust the finished Ichigo Daifuku with more potato starch or cornstarch to prevent sticking.
- Allow the Ichigo Daifuku to cool slightly before serving.
If you don’t like the Strawberry Mochi – Ichigo Daifuku, you can try other daifuku recipes with other flavors, such as:
- Sesame Daifuku: In this version, sesame seeds or sesame paste are incorporated into the mochi dough, providing a nutty flavor and a slightly different texture. The filling may still include anko or other sweet fillings. This daifuku type has another version: Black Sesame Daifuku or Kuro Goma Daifuku.
- Matcha Daifuku: Matcha, or powdered green tea, is infused into the mochi dough, giving it a vibrant green color and a distinctive, slightly bitter flavor. The filling often consists of sweetened red bean paste or matcha-flavored cream.
- Mame Daifuku: “Mame” means bean in Japanese, and this daifuku features whole beans in addition to or instead of the red bean paste. Common choices include soybeans or black beans.
- Chocolate Daifuku: Encased within a soft, glutinous rice exterior, these sweet treats encircle a luscious core of velvety chocolate, creating a harmonious fusion of textures and flavors. The outer layer, dusted with a delicate coating of powdered sugar or cocoa, adds a subtle sweetness that complements the indulgent chocolate within.
- Banana Daifuku: Banana Daifuku, a delightful variation of the classic Japanese confection, introduces a tantalizing blend of ripe banana and velvety mochi. The creamy sweetness of the banana complements the pillowy mochi exterior, creating a delightful taste.
These variations showcase the versatility of daifuku, as it can be adapted to incorporate different ingredients and flavors, catering to a wide range of preferences.