Daifuku (大福) is a Japanese sweet consisting of mochi wrapped around a red bean paste filling. These delicious little dessert dumplings are made of a few simple ingredients, and make a delightful addition to any party or potluck (assuming you can resist devouring all of them on the spot).
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Step 1: What You'll Need
- Mixing bowl
- Small pot with a lid
- Mesh strainer
- Wide, shallow container (to hold bean filling)
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Heatproof spatula
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1/2 cup dried (or 1 1/4 cup canned) azuki beans
- 1/2 cup sugar
- A pinch of salt
FOR THE MOCHI DOUGH:
- Potato starch (for dusting)
- 1 cup mochiko flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
Step 2: Filling Pt. 1: Reconstituting the Beans
Note: If you're starting with canned azuki beans, simply rinse them off and skip the rest of this step.
Rinse the beans and transfer them to your pot. Cover with water and bring the beans to a boil, then drain.
Cover the beans with water again and simmer over very low heat for 60-90 minutes until they're tender (adding more water as needed to keep the beans covered). Drain.
Step 3: Filling Pt. 2: Sweeten and Cook
Purée the beans in your food processor. If the beans are too crumbly, add a little water until it comes together into a smooth paste.
Return bean purée to the pot and stir in the sugar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until puree is very thick.
Spread bean paste into a wide, shallow container and refrigerate until firm and cool.
Step 4: Making the Mochi Dough
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust generously with potato starch, set aside.
Whisk together flour and water until smooth. Pour mixture through the mesh strainer and into the pot (you may need to smush it through the mesh using your spatula). Add sugar and mix well.
Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with the heatproof spatula, until it thickens and comes together into one smooth, shiny mass that can hold its shape (5-7 minutes).
Scoop the mochi dough out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and let it sit until it's cool enough to handle.
Step 5: The Complicated Part (Filling)
Using a starch-dusted knife, cut the mochi dough into 16 pieces. Using more starch to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface or hands (it's very sticky), flatten one piece into a thick, flat disk about 2 x 2 inches.
Form a scant tablespoon of red bean filling into a ball and place into the center of the disc. Evenly stretch the edges of the mochi dough up and around the filling, pinching together to seal (be gentle with this part, the mochi dough is fragile and very easy to poke holes in).
Gently roll the daifuku between your hands to form a rounded shape, and set it on the parchment-lined sheet with the seam on the bottom. Repeat for the rest of the dough pieces.
Refrigerate in a sealed container until serving. Daifuku are best eaten the same day they're made.
Step 6: Fun Variations!
Standard daifuku are plenty delicious, but the recipe is also very easy to spice up!
Try wrapping small chunks of fruit or berries in the red bean paste before filling (strawberries are traditional, I'm partial to raspberries and blackberries). You can also add food coloring or flavor extracts to the flour and water mixture before cooking it in the pot.
Enjoy! I'm off to stuff my face with the latest batch.
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