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Red bean mochi balls.

Mochi wrapper recipe more or less identical to recipes by Maangchi and use real butter (see their posts for step-by-step tutorials!) I divided the recipe into two halves for one batch each of green tea mochi and plain mochi — to make just one large batch, follow their recipes instead.

Scale

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. For the red bean filling: Soak the red beans in plenty of water for at least 2-3 hours, if not overnight. Rinse and drain. Next, briefly blanch the beans to clean them. Place the beans in a large pot and fill with enough water to submerge the beans by an inch or so. Bring the water just to a boil, then drain and rinse again.
  2. Replacing the beans in the pot, fill with just enough water to cover the beans and bring it back to a simmer. For the next hour or two, you will need to let the beans simmer consistently, adding about 1/2 cup of water each time the water boils down to keep the beans submerged. You don’t need to stir, just keep the water just covering the beans.
  3. After an hour, test a bean by mashing it with a spoon or your fingers. If it splits as halves, keep cooking. If it smushes easily, it’s done simmering.
  4. Now, you can drain the beans, then add it to a food processor with the sugar and process on high until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor or blender, just drain the water, add the sugar directly to the pot, and keep cooking over low heat, mashing as you would mashed potatoes.
  5. You can use it if you like at this point, but I find mine is generally a bit too liquid after this step. If you do too, warm one to two tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Pour the paste into the pan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the paste thickens into a firm, mold-able paste. Also, taste-test to make sure it’s at the sweetness you prefer.
  6. When you’re happy with the paste, let cool, then scoop it and roll it into small balls, about 3/4-inch in diameter or less. Place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, then set aside. (Note: You can freeze these if you like, which will make wrapping them easier, but if you do, you will need to let the mochi balls rest for about 20-30 minutes before eating, to let the red bean paste thaw.)
  7. For the mochi wrappers: For the plain mochi, sift together 1/2 cup mochiko flour and 2 tbsp sugar, then pour in the water and stir until combined. Microwave on high for 1 minute, covered. Most recipes suggest covering with plastic wrap, but something about microwaving plastic wrap skeezes me out. I just covered the bowl with a plate. After microwaving, stir vigorously for about 1-2 minutes to develop chewiness. The paste will likely be a big glob and somewhat hard to work with — just stir it as best you can. (*Note:* If you don’t have a microwave, bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. If the dough doesn’t come together when stirred, steam it for 5-10 minutes longer.)
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread a generous amount of cornstarch (I used about 3-4 tablespoons) over it. Scrape the ball of mochi dough onto it and flatten with your fingers. I wet my hands beforehand so that the dough didn’t burn me and didn’t stick. Once you’ve spread it into about a 6×6 square, sprinkle cornstarch over both sides and cut into 9 pieces. Stretch one square, then take one ball of red bean filling and place it in the middle. (*Note:* For mochi ice cream instead of red bean mochi balls, see Notes!) Stretch edges gently to meet on the underside of the ball and pinch or pleat together as best you can until it holds together. Dust with extra cornstarch and set aside, covered. Repeat until you’re out of mochi.
  9. For the other batch, whisk 1/2 tsp of matcha powder into the flour and sugar, and otherwise repeat steps 9 and 10. If you’ve frozen the red bean filling, let the mochi balls rest and thaw for about 20-30 minutes — otherwise, enjoy immediately.

Notes

For the red bean paste, you can choose to strain out the biggest pieces of bean skin if you want to. Do so by pushing the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. I did one batch straining the skin and one batch with skin intact — the taste difference was negligible, if discernible at all.

For mochi ice cream, omit the red bean paste and use ice cream balls instead! Scoop ice cream into 1-tbsp balls and space evenly on a baking sheet. Replace in freezer and let chill until hard. Use in place of the red bean paste balls. Return to freezer after forming the mochi balls or enjoy immediately!