Hope you all had a nice time last night. We stayed in, watched a movie and saw the ball drop in Times Square on the tube. We ate popcorn and mochi, and drank Moet (the little one had sparkling lemonade). My days of celebrating in loud, crowded places are over. Being a small person, it is always unpleasant to be in the midst of a crowd anyway, because with people towering over me on all sides, it always feels like I’m about to be crushed or trampled on. I totally identify with kids and Hobbits in these situations!
One of the good luck Japanese foods commonly eaten at New Year’s is mochi (a sticky rice cake). I couldn’t find any at the Asian market in our neighborhood, but they had rice flour and canned red beans, so I thought I would try to make some on my own.
The traditional way of making mochi takes hours — rice is cooked and then pounded with wooden mallets until soft and chewy. Most home cooks use Mochiko — a rice flour that you can find at stores. There is a stove top method and a microwave method that I found online. I opted for the easiest route and chose the latter.
You just mix the rice flour with water and sugar and a couple drops of food coloring if you desire in a microwave safe bowl.
Cover with saran. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Carefully remove saran and spoon out mochi on a board dusted with potato starch or corn starch.
Shape into little balls and spoon a bit of bean paste on center.
Pinch edges over to cover and pat into a round disc.
Easy peasy. I made mini ones because I love all things small. Also, the flavor is so intense, I find that mini ones go a long way! Aren’t they cute?
With the leftover can of adzuki bean paste, I decided to make Red Bean Ice Cream. We had just been visiting the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory yesterday, and I noticed it was one of their flavors. If you haven’t been there before, check it out the next time you are in NYC. They have all kinds of exotic flavors like Taro, Lychee, Black Sesame, as well as amazing traditional ones.
I made a simple cream based (as opposed to custard based) ice cream that was pretty light. I used some leftover heavy cream, non-fat lactose free milk, sugar, vanilla, and some sugar-free Torani syrup I recently bought. I whizzed it up in the blender and poured it into the ice cream maker. At the very end, I threw in the leftover bean paste which was about 1/4 -1/3 cups (I had made two and a half batches of mochi beforehand).
I have to say that this is one of the most delicious ice creams I’ve ever made! Maybe it’s because I had never had red bean ice cream before, and I never knew what I was missing!
On reflection, 2011 was a great year for The Hungry Artist blog. I gained a lot of subscribers, and visits to my blog have grown so much since it began.
The top three popular posts of last year were:
I want to thank all of you for reading. I wish you all a wonderful 2012!!
Mini Mochi Cakes with Red Bean Paste
Small can of adzuki sweet beans
1/2 cup Mochiko Rice Flour
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons water
food coloring if desired
potato starch or cornstarch for dusting
1. Coarsely mash about 2 tablespoons of beans in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Mix rice flour and water and sugar and food coloring if using in a bowl. Cover with saran. Microwave on high for two minutes.
3. Let sit a minute or two. Carefully remove saran (I wore oven mitts!) to release steam. Dump mochi out onto generously dusted work board.
4. Dust hands with starch and take a clump of dough and roll into a ball. Press into a flat disc. Spoon a bit of paste in center. Pull up sides to cover. Roll and pat into a small disc. Repeat with remaining dough and paste. The dough is VERY sticky. Be patient. It helps to have hands dusted.
Makes about six mini cakes.
I wrap mine in saran and then store in an airtight container. I don’t refrigerate it, but eat it quickly!
Red Bean Ice Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup milk (I used nonfat, but whole fat would make it creamier)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Torani French Vanilla syrup (or just use 2 more tablespoons sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
about 1/4- 1/3 cup of sweet red beans
1. Blend all ingredients except beans in a blender for about 30 seconds.
2. Pour into an ice cream maker. Follow your machine’s instructions for freezing. At the end of the churning, throw in beans and mix to incorporate. Transfer to a container and freeze in freezer until hard.
Makes about 2 pints.