Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Easy Skippy Mochi

It seems that my rainy days decide to linger longer than it should, which is good, so I have more opportunity to make dishes that go perfectly together with the wet weather. Most people always associate cold, rainy days with a bowl of hot soupy dish that would chase the cold away, leave a tint of rose on their cheeks, and a somewhat grateful feeling over such a simple yet comforting dish. I cannot deny that soup has the power to make people feel good.

But that is not the case for me.

It is not that I dislike soup. I am just not a huge fan of soup, ramen, chowder, or just about any food that has more liquid than solid content in a single serving, which aso requires me a bit of more waiting time than usual just to eat it in order to save my tongue from getting burnt. I mean, I do love soup. But only when I’m down with cold or when there isn’t anything else to fill my grumbling tummy.

Now what I have here is a simple, 5 ingredients only dish, water excluded, that is seriously healthy and satisfyingly yummy. I am sure you all know mochi, have eaten it, and have loved it ever since. But mocha is not a kind of treat that we often have. Even though it is delicious, mochi is quite pricey. If it isn’t pricey, it tastes just like a chemical compound rolled in who knows what kind of flour.

This mochi is perfect with a cup of hot green tea. So refreshingly simple and humble. It also does a good job in saving me from doing the dishes and cleaning up the aftermath of heavy cooking. 

What I want to ask you is, have you ever considered making mochi, the wonderful, healthy, low-fat, low-sugar, gluten free food, by yourself at home? If you haven’t, then I am here to share you the easiest mochi making method, which is boiled, that I learnt from Cooking Korean Food with Maangchi. But do forgive me for the quality of the pictures. It was a stormy day yesterday and although I turned on all the lamps in my kitchen, it was still quite unfriendly for picture taking.

-2 cups Glutinous rice flour
-3 tbs sugar
-1 ½ tsp salt
-2/3 cup hot water, not boiling
-Skippy chunky/creamy peanut butter
-1/2 cup Corn flour to coat the mochi

-Mix the dry ingredients well except the corn flour. 
-Pour in the water little by little while mixing it with spoon then mix it with hand to make a round pliable dough with playdoh-like consistency. (See pic.1)
- Divide the dough into 2, roll each one with your hand to make a cylinder shape, and then cut into 18-20 pieces. If that is too small for you to handle for the first time, feel free to make bigger sized mochi. (See pic.2)
-Get a piece of dough, put on your lightly floured palm to prevent stickiness, and then make a round shape. This is the MOST important step; do not make your mochi skin too thin, else it will be torn while boiled and do not put too much Skippy filling else it will be hard to seal the mochi.
-Put around 1 tsp of Skippy, or less, or more, depending on the size of your mochi, then seal and roll with your palms to form a ball. (See pic.3)
-Prepare a pan, or bowl filled with cold water and put some ice cubes in it. (See pic.4)
-This is how the unboiled mochi should look. (See pic.5)
-Put your mochi in the boiling water. It has to be fully submerged and always do it in batches so they won’t stick to one another.
-The mochi is done when it floats. Use a small colander to grab it fast and dunk it in the prepared ice bath to firm up the skin and prevent the mochi from being soggy. (See pic.6)
-To prepare the cornflour: Heat a pan then pour the corn flour in, stirring it fast to prevent it from burning then when it’s hot enough, around a minute, transfer into a clean, dry plate.
-Now you are ready to roll your mochi in the prepared corn flour.

If you look at the list of ingredients, you’d be surprised at how simple and, most importantly, cheap they are. If you happen to have green tea powder, black sesame seeds, or soy flour, then you are in for an even more special treat! To make the tri-colored one like in my picture, just make sure that you heat the soy flour like the corn flour and finely ground the black sesame seeds after toasting it. Do not do anything to the green tea one, though. After that, you just need to add some sugar to your sweetness preference to each color then roll in your mochi.

So, are you going to convert to a snack eater like me on rainy days?  If your answer is yes and you are as lazy as me and choose to curl up on the sofa with a Booker Prize winner book, a warm knitted blanket on your lap, nibbling some mochi, and sipping some freshly brewed green tea without worrying about the excess flour falling on the blanket for the book has taken you so far a wonderful journey, then I welcome you to the club.

Stumble Upon Toolbar Pin It

Friday, March 9, 2012

Agedashi Tofu

Oh rainy days…

You are ever so wonderful and romantic.

I always love, love it when it rains. It feels as if each drop is orchestrated to help me ease my mind and let me skip reality and visit my beautiful, though rather somber and lonely, perfect world in my mind. I am a Virgo to the bone and not to max out the atmosphere I love the most would be a sad loss for me. I want to enjoy my rainy day, to savor it, to embrace it, and feel whole with it. To do that, I need to stimulate all my senses.

I have the quietness, that’s good. I open the windows wide to smell the fresh air and let the scent of water-kissed greenery permeates my living room. What I need is just something light and earthy to eat and drink.

If you know me well, I am a tofu worshipper. If I could, I would stop writing and cooking and just dwell in the art of making tofu. So for this glorious rainy day I have decided to make a tofu dish that is on my top 5 most favorite tofu dish, Agedashi Tofu.

This is basically a fried tofu with dashi sauce. I do not fry my food, but this one is an exception for its somehow not-crispy not-gooey outer skin which covers the silky soy goodness that makes this tofu dish special. I cannot get it by steaming my tofu. I mean, I have been called a no-fried food evangelist, but even an evangelist has a dark secret or two, right? Looking at the finally cooked and generously topped with katsuobushi* dish, I was glad I listened to my ‘dark’ side and fried my tofu. But I promise you I did not use too much oil and I put the tofu on paper towel  to have the oil partly absorbed. Tee hee.. 


For the tofu:
-1 block of mung bean tofu or a tube of silken tofu
-Corn starch
-Oil for (deep) frying.
For the tentsuyu sauce:
-3/4 cup kombu dashi*
-4 tablespoons soy sauce
-2 tablespoons mirin (essential, but optional)
-sugar, to taste

-Mix all the tentsuyu ingredients in a bowl, set aside.
-Pat dry the tofu with a paper towel, cut it to your favorable size, coat the tofu with corn starch.
-Heat the oil. Make sure it’s hot.
-Once it’s hot, fry the tofu until it turns golden.
-Put the tofu on a plate lined with paper towel to drain the excess oil.
-After the tofu is slightly warmer, put it in a small bowl, top it generously with katsuobushi (and grated daikon if you have some daikon at home), pour the sauce, and enjoy!

*Katsuobushi is dried bonito flakes
*Kombu dashi is a vegetarian stock made by boiling kombu (dried seaweed) in water. Just like that.
However, you can use any Japanese homemade dashi if you like.
Katsuobushi and kombu can be purchased now in big supermarkets so there is no need to go to a Japanese grocery store. Oh, if you find yourself too lazy to make the tentsuyu sauce, you can always purchase the bottled one. Another tip from me is, always be bold with seasoning. If you think you need more mirin and sugar, so put more! A tablespoon or two of sake would also add a lovely touch to your tentsuyu.

So there you have it, a simple, humble, earthy dish that would take you back in time and complete your beautiful mind. Have a cup of hot ocha to accompany you enjoy the sound of rain and not so distant thunder. And trust me, sometimes loneliness is meant to be savored. 

Stumble Upon Toolbar Pin It