Daifuku are tasty balls of rice dough with red bean
paste in the middle. You can get them in the frozen
foods section of Japanese grocery stores. What do you
get when you add a strawberry to this already tasty
thingie? Ichigo daifuku! Ichigo means "strawberry,"
Note: These things do not keep very well in the fridge.
The rice dough tends to toughen and spoil the soft texture.
You can save those that aren't going to be eaten within
a day in the freezer. Which will make the strawberry
mushy... really, it's best to eat these quickly. Or
make just enough strawberry daifuku for your immediate
needs, and with the rest of the batch make regular
daifuku - see the bottom of this page - to freeze
What you need:
1.5 cups mochiko (rice flour)
1.5 cups water
2 cups of anko (sweet red bean paste)
a dozen small to medium strawberries
Wax paper or
a cutting board
katakuriko (potato starch) for
the cutting board
Mix the flour, water, and sugar in a pot. When
it's good and mixed, put the heat on as if you were
trying to bring it to a boil. Cover. After
a few minutes it will thicken alarmingly at the bottom.
Stir it up, and keep stirring every minute or
so until you have what looks like a pot full of white
chewing gum. Take the pot off the heat and leave
Flour your working surface with the potato starch,
or if you don't have that more rice flour, because
this stuff is *sticky.* Using a wooden spoon or
whatever, pull out globs of goo, about as much as you
want to use for each daifuku (golf ball size is a good
point to aim for, though it'll be difficult to judge because of how
stretchy it is) and set them on the potato starch. This will
help them cool faster. Otherwise you'll be waiting
forever. The pot will keep a layer of the gluey
stuff no matter how hard you scrape. Don't worry about
that, just set it aside to cool.
Wash the strawberries and cut the leaves off. Smear
anko all over them. (The recipes I've seen show them
rolled up in neat little anko balls. Hah! If anyone
knows how to do this trick, tell me!) It doesn't have
to look pretty, as this will all be covered up.
When the dough is cool enough that you can work it
without burning yourself, flour your fingers, then work
the dough balls into rounds. It's stretchy stuff, so
this is easy. When you've got a good round place
an anko-covered strawberry on it, then draw the dough
up over the filling and pinch it together so it sticks.
Pinch it all off and you have an ichigo daifuku!
Resist the urge to eat it right there and make the rest.
Caution: don't stretch the dough too thin. If
you do, the thing won't have much structural integrity
and can tear.
Oh - remember the layer of crud in the pot? When
it's cool you can just peel it out and eat it, maybe
even make another daifuku with it, although the texture
will be a little weird. If there's some papery
stuff hardened on the sides, peel it off and eat it.
Plain ol' Daifuku
is plenty tasty too. I've liked it ever
since the first time I tried it. (And went "What
in the world is this? Do I need to cook it?") It's
not hard to make, really. Just follow the above directions,
but leave out the strawberries and instead just put
globs of anko in the dough rounds.
- You can buy daifuku from the frozen foods section
of Asian grocery stores. The green ones (yomogi
daifuku) are made with mugwort. There other colors as
well, and I've seen all sorts of flavors - melon, strawberry,
et cetera - at anime cons.