Try Mochi, a Sweet and Tasty Japanese Treat

Among sweet treats currently rocketing into fashion is mochi, Japanese rice dough. Mochi forms the base for a number of delicious desserts and snacks, among them mochi ice cream and daifuku, sweet dumplings consisting of mochi wrapped around a filling such as strawberry cream or red bean paste.
A recent article for the New York Times featured mochi as it’s prepared by Tomoko Kato at her Brooklyn bakery, the Patisserie Tomoko (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/29/dining/mochi-recipe-tomoko-kato.html?_r=0).
Daifuku have been part of Japanese cuisine for years and are available ready-made at specialty groceries. But when it comes to flavor and texture, homemade are by far the best. The secret lies in the quality of the mochi dough. Mochi consists of only three ingredients; sugar, water, and shiratamako flour (mochiko flour can also be used, but will result in a less elastic dough). The flour is mixed carefully with water, strained, then sugar is added and the mixture heated until thick. Ms. Kato prefers to cook it on the stove, although it can also be steamed or microwaved. Cooking takes about 5 minutes with constant mixing to avoid burning. The finished mass is quite thick and shiny. This is left on a floured surface to cool.
To form daifuku, Ms. Kato pulls off a bit of mochi dough and slowly molds it around a filling such as anko, a traditional bean paste mixed with sugar, or a chocolate ganache. Mochi dough remains sticky even after molding it into daifuku dumplings. As mochi retains its chewy appeal only for a day or so, it’s best to eat it immediately.
Ms Kato’s bakery also use bits of mochi dough with bean paste as a base for ice cream.