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miércoles, 21 de diciembre de 2016

Mochi, a sweet from Japan

In the Far East there are not the typical sweets you can find  in the West pastry shops. Custards, chocolates, and other ingredients derived from milk are absent because, among other reasons, most Easterners are lactose intolerant. That does not mean they do not to eat sweets but they are quite different and the order they eat them in a meal is once again not  the usual of West countries. So all dishes are served all together and is the guest who decides when taking sweet or salty, if not simply taking alternate bites of the all.

I start with this article a review of the most popular sweets in the Far East and what better way than with the mochi.

The mochi is a type of rubbery mass that can be both sweet and salty. In this case we will make candy with it. The elastic consistency is achieved using a special type of rice boiled and then crushed - literally - until  suitable for making savory or sweet food pasta. As this process is slow and complex usually it is better to buy mochi flour that is already dry in any grocery.

To find the rice flour is used to make mochi can be difficult outside establishments specialized in oriental food so I have used ordinary flour rice that can be found in any supermarket. The result has been more than acceptable.

INGREDIENTS :

150 grams (5.3 oz) of rice flour
400 grams (14 oz) of sugar
180 ml of water (a little less than a cup)
Cornstarch

In a bowl that can go to the fire - preferably glass or ceramic - mix the rice flour with the water. Mix well and if is too dry add water (a tablespoon at a time).

Now we will fill a pot with water to cook the resulting in double boiler (bain marie). To do this we introduce the container where we have mixed water and flour in the water and cover with a lid. With 20 minutes cooking time will enough.

Then we pour the contents of the container into another pan to low-medium heat. Add 150 grams (5.3 oz) of sugar and work well to dissolve in the dough. Stirring constantly add another 150 grams (5.3 oz)  and again when they have dissolved add the remaining 100 grams (3.4oz). After mixing all the sugar the dough will have a consistency a bit similar to marzipan and quite sticky. It's time to work it.

Pour the dough on a flat surface we have previously covered with corn starch. It is desirable that you pour as well corn starch on the hand palms to prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers. Flat the dough and stick out a piece the size of a fist. Give it a round shape and fill it with with something sweet. The Japanese tend to put sweet red beans but if that seems too radical to you, fill the center with jam of any kind, pieces of fruit, ice cream of any kind etc. The guest will be amazed by the texture and flavor that mochi encloses inside.

A highly recommended sweet and surprising.

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