Saturday, April 3, 2010

Not as Good as it Looks: Ichigo Daifuku

I first heard of Ichigo Daifuku (いちご大福) while I was googling for a recipe for Japanese strawberry shortcake. I saw beautiful pictures of whole strawberries wrapped in anko (red bean paste) and mochi, but the thought of making it didn't crossed my mind until I saw the recipe on HHB's blog. It looked simple and quick to make, so I decided to give it a try.

The Korean strawberries were so fresh and beautiful, and it was pretty cheap too. The strawberries were probably the only consolation in the final product.
I bought the anko together with the 2 types of flour specially from Daiso. The anko was too wet and soft it was impossible to roll them into balls. I made a huge mess of it, with both my palms covered with anko. In the end I had to refrigerate it to harden it.

I suspect I did not handle the mochi properly. I let it steam on high heat on a wok. Due to my inexperience and hopelessness with using the stove, I did not add enough water and the wok turned dry halfway into steaming the mochi. As a result I had to add water in between, and I'm not sure if I had overcooked or undercooked the mochi. When I took it out from the wok, it was dry and sticky, although adding the potato flour made it smoother and more manageable, it was less elastic as I expected. As the mochi cooled, it was even more difficult to wrap the fillings in.

I thought the picture did not do justice to the product, because it actually looks better than it tasted! The outcome was quite disastrous. The mochi was wrapped unevenly and the taste was very floury. I wonder if it was supposed to be like this or was it because I did not steam it properly. The anko was way too sweet, so sweet that even the tangy strawberry was unable to make up for the sweetness. I think I won't try this again. I have even given away the leftover flour to MY for her to try this recipe.

Ingredients (makes 8 ichigo daifuku):
8 small strawberries
160g red bean paste
100g mochiko(glutinous rice flour)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
120ml water* (original recipe uses 100ml water)
some katakuriko (potato starch) for dusting

  1. Rinse, dry, and hull the strawberries.
  2. Roll red bean paste into 20g balls (I had to put mine into the fridge for 10 mins as the red bean paste is too soft). Flatten each ball into a small disc and wrap with one strawberry. Keep in fridge.
  3. Mix glutinous rice flour and sugar together in a heatproof bowl. Add water and stir to dissolve. Cover the bowl with heatproof cling wrap or a heatproof plate/cover. Place in a steamer and steam over high heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Dust generously with potato starch. When the mochi is ready, transfer it onto the prepared baking tray. Sprinkle the mochi with potato starch, dust hands with potato starch and pat the mochi to flatten it slightly (the mochi is still hot). Use a pastry scraper or a knife to cut it into 8 portions.
  5. Take one piece of mochi, flatten and stretch it into a round disc, dust off any excess potato starch. Place a strawberry (Step 1) in the middle, with the tip side facing down and wrap the mochi around it by pulling and stretching the mochi. Pinch and seal the seam.
  6. Repeat the same with the rest of the mochi. (Note: Work briskly as the mochi will get less flexible as it cools.) Leave the daifuku at room temperature for an hour to set before serving. Daifuku tastes best on the day it is made. If there are any leftovers cover and store at room temperature.
From HHB's and Cooking with Dog's Ichigo Daifuku.

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