Ichigo Daifuku - Japanese Sweet Bean and Strawberry Ball





Introduction: Ichigo Daifuku - Japanese Sweet Bean and Strawberry Ball

A soft, pillowy rice flour ball filled with sweet bean paste and a ripe strawberry

Step 1: Ingredients and Preparation

For this recipe, you'll need:

1cup sweet glutinous rice flour (Mochiko is a popular brand in Japanese and Korean stores)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
and extra flour or corn starch for handling the dough.

Bean Paste
(I made this from scratch because I couldn't find any in stores near me. You can find it pre-made. It's often called anko or shiro-an)
1 cup dried white beans
1/2 cup sugar
2 to 3 cups water

Strawberries - this recipe makes about 8 balls, so have 8 ripe strawberries on hand

Step 2: Make the Bean Paste!

After soaking the beans overnight in water, put them in a pot with fresh water and sugar and boil.

Keep an eye on them...they need to become tender. Depending on how dry your beans are, this should take between 30 minutes and 1 hour.

Add more water if the level gets low.

Once the beans are tender, strain them (reserving the liquid) and puree in a food processor or mash with a fork. Add a little more water if necessary to achieve a smooth but thick consistency. The paste should be thick enough that you can pick it up and mold it around the strawberries.

Step 3: Prepare the Berries

While your bean paste is cooling, you can get your strawberries ready :)

Remove the stems from your strawberries and cut off the white part.

Rinse them, and then pat them dry with a paper towel. If they're wet, the bean paste will not stick to them.

When you're sure that the berries are dry and the bean paste is cool enough to handle, take a small lump of bean paste and carefully mold it around the strawberry.
You want a substantial layer, but not one so thick that it falls off.
Leave a little bit uncovered at the base of the strawberry so that you can pick it up.

Set these berries aside while you prepare your dough.

Step 4: Making the Dough

Mix together the Glutinous Rice Flour, water, and sugar in a microwave safe bowl.
Mix it well.

Microwave it for 2 minutes, then remove and stir.

Microwave it again for an additional minute or two. Remove from the microwave and spoon out the dough ball onto a floured cutting board. Flour your hands as well.
If it's cool enough to handle, proceed to the next step. If not, wait 30 seconds and try again.

Step 5: Rollin' Out the Dough

While the dough is still warm, divide it into 8 pieces and roll each one out into a disc.

If the dough dries out it gets crusty and is impossible to work with. Also it tastes gross.

The softness and silkiness of the dough is what makes it a special dessert.
So if your dough gets too dry or too wet, just try another batch.

Keep your surface and rolling pin well floured with rice flour or cornstarch while you work. The pics aren't great because this step goes by really fast!

When you have 8 warm soft discs, move on to the next step!

Step 6: Snugly and Completely Enclose the Berries

Take one of your prepared strawberries.
Holding it by the base, wrap one of your dough discs around it, stretching it gently and pinching it at the bottom to seal it. You want it to snugly and completely enclose the berries.

Lucky berries!

Be careful that the berries don't pierce the dough. It's not too hard...the dough is pretty forgiving.

Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. After they're done, dust them gently with rice flour or cornstarch, individually wrap them and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Hazzah! Time to share your wealth!



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    I went to CVS and found some of the rice flour! Maybe because I live in an asian community, but recently CVS has been carrying groceries and korean cup noodles-- I found it near there

    Nope. It's done.

    Go to Asian grocery stores. I don't think you necessarily have to buy the specific brand. Make sure it's GLUTINOUS rice flour though, not regular rice flour.

    whats the difference between glutinous rice flour and rice flour?

    There's regular rice and glutinous rice. Glutinous rice has more amylopectin and less amylose than other kinds of rice so it's INCREDIBLY sticky, not to be confused with what Americans sometimes call "sticky rice" which is just a slightly stickier variety of regular rice. (It doesn't have the gluten protein that some people are allergic to though, it's just glutinous as in glue-y, not glutenous.) So, regular rice flour vs. glutinous rice flour also have different textures. Glutinous rice flour often gets used to make ball-shaped dessert that need to hold together and have a slightly bouncy texture like the above.

    Here's the gory details of the difference between regular and glutinous rice for those interested: http://www.ncsu.edu/news/press_releases/02_10/275.htm

    I love daifuku! I always try to eat my weight in both daifuku and mochi when I visit Japan. Sadly it is very hard to find the proper ingredients where I live. If that is the same for you I recommend finding an online asian grocery store to supply you.

    Do you have a suggestion for how to do this step without a microwave? I love daifuku! Never had them with fresh strawberries in there though - YUM! Can't wait to try making my own!

    Bain Marie, or you can do it in an oven, bain marie style.

    One with water - and put the other one on top - it is better if you don't have the liquid touching the bowl, because the pastry will cook before you have a chance to use it.

    Another way is to let your rice 'sit' for half an hour after it has boiled, remember that real rice has a husk, and it is much better to rinse with very cold water in a sieve chinois for four or five minutes. You have to rinse the rice, put your kettle on boil, and that is good enough, put the water through the seive, turn your rice at the same time four a couple of minutes with a wooden spatula - if you don't use the wooden spatula, you will have the taste of metal in your rice. Put the rice o the counter, on top of a piece of greaseproo, and let it rest - better if you put it through a moulin when it is cold.

    The dough is easily usable for a couple of minutes after you have prepared; again, thai steamer is a god here. It warms it up and makes it more pliable.

    Flouring your hands will do nothing apart from making this pastry more than a little dry - rinse your hands with a little peanut oil for every ball.

    When you haveyour 'rounds' of pastry, use your hands and make them as thin as possible - stretching left and right until the pastry is nearly see-through - take a knife and put some of the strawberry confiture - (jam) accross the pastry - next - put some strawberries or some strawberry halves on the the pastry.

    Next point - very important.

    Put your hands in some iced water until you feel nothing.

    Take some pastry, put a good strawberry in the middle of it and roll the pastry in your palms - left and right.

    Drop them in the fryer or steam them in a basket over a wok with a liquid of papaye or mango underneath.

    I will post a video a little later?


    Sorry for the long wined explination.
    For the strawberries - you have two choices - put them in a brown paper bag - and store them with no sun for two or three weeks - and change the bag every two or three days for another - or make a quick strawberry Jam - adding a fresh strawberry , with some pistachios, at the last mintue.

    When the Pastry is hard' role it out, for every strawberry - normally a couple of feet, and place your strawberries.

    It is really much better if you make a if you have some planning for the things you need to prepare this recipe.

    1 make your jam, ( this will keep for months in a hermetic container in the fridge).

    Make your pastry - it will be much better if you prepare it a day in advance - don't ever put in the fridge - much better if you wrap in cling film and leave it on the counter until the Jam is set.

    When you purée your pastry - you need to look out for the colour and translucence of the rice - if the rice is very white - you need to let it boil a little longer - if the rice is almost see through - you need to start again - in between is better.