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.
(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.
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.
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