Daifukumochi-Bánh Bao Chì

    Mother Day is coming.  A thumb up for every mom in the world will you, please?.  She may not be famous, beautiful, well-dressed, rich or smart either but she is the one and only mom you have and I hope you save a special place in your heart for her.   This blog was created  for my kids and also thank to them I can proudly say the best achievement in my life is being a mom.
     I have learned and made "Bánh Bao Chỉ" since I was living in Vietnam but the old technique involves  in kneading extremely hot dough is hard and since I came to US, I never had time to make it until one day my daughter told me about Mochi icecream and many years passing by until now.
     Daifuku mochi or daifuku(Japanese Rice Cake, literally "Great luck" ), Chapssalddeok (Korean style mochi),  Bánh Bao Chí or Lo Mai Chi in Chợ Lớn (China Town of Vietnam), etc. are small round glutinous cakes stuffed with sweet fillings as red bean paste, coconut, etc. and covered in a fine, dried coconut flakes, powdered starch, sesame, soybean powder,etc.
      It is based on "Cooking with the Dog" Hope you  enjoy.  You do not need to buy special expensive Japanese brand Mochiko.  Any glutinous rice flour can be used-a whole bag can make 60 small cakes.  If you can not find potato starch use corn starch.  Less water or less sugar will product more chewy products. There are three kinds of red bean paste: coarse(tsubushian), fine (koshian, skin was removed) and oil (frying with oil).  I may try to use inverted sugar later  but so far the cakes stay soft and fresh for 3 days in the fridge enough to make me happy.

Meet the secret ingredient to make mochi stays soft in the fridge and freeze a few day:  Agar powder. I got the idea from ingredient lists of commercial mochi on the market.

Mochi dough: Make 8 small cakes
50 g glutinous rice flour (1/2 cup shy)
75 g granulate sugar (1/3 cup)
100 gr water (100 cc )
1/4 tsp agar powder
2 Tbs potato starch or corn starch, or soybean powder, coconut powder, etc.
1-2 Tbs powder sugar
Filling of your choices:  need 8 heap Tablespoon
Coconut filling:  use 1/4 of coconut filling in Bánh ít Trần Nhân Dừa
1/2 Red Bean filling, recipe below
 Put water in a small sauce pan, sprinkle agar powder over and let agar powder swelling a few minutes. Continuously stir and bring it to a boil over medium high heat,  Then turn the heat down to simmer gently.  Cont. stirring until agar powder dissolved 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.  Measure the water mixture again add more water if needed to make 100 gr/cc.Add water mixture into a heat proof bowl, stir in sugar and glutinous flour until well blend.  Cover with a plastic wrap.  Microwave 1 minute on high. Carefully take it out of microwave because the dough will be very hot and sticky.  Open cover, stir, recover the bowl and cook 1 more minutes.  Take it out, open the cover and stir well.  You may need to adjust timing for your microwave about 2-3 minutes totally. The cooked dough should  be translucent and shiny but not dry hard.  Cover and cook 30 more second, the dough should expand and fluffy slightly.  Remove the dough from microwave and stir one last time vigorously  helping the dough smooth, uniform and cool down . The flour mixture can be steamed until translucent  about 15-20 minutes (with a dome lid  or cover the pot with a kitchen towel before putting a lid on) if you do not use microwave.Sprinkle  2/3 potato starch on a clean surface.  Place the cooked hot dough on the top of starch, sprinkle the remaining starch on top of dough.  Gently pat  and flatten the dough down in to a rectangle.  Use a knife or dough cutter, cut into 8 pieces.  Gently stretching and flattening a piece of dough with fingers and palms as thinner as you can.   Put 1 Tbs filling in the center, gather the edges and pinch together to conceal the filling.  Roll the cake between the palm to make it round. Then flatten it down about 1/2 to 2/3- inch thick disk. Brush off excess starch. If you want the opaque look, mix 1 Tbs potato starch with 1 Tbs powder sugar, and brush the mixture over cakes.  If you want a clear appearance, brush with pure powder sugar.  Put them in cupcake paper cup or in an air tight container.  They stay soft and fresh a few days in the fridge.Red Bean paste filling/AnkoMake  16 heap tablespoon
3/4 cup dry red bean
1.5 cups water for cooking and extra for blanching, soaking
1/2 cup and  1 Tbs sugar
1/16 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil

Slightly rinse and rub the beans under running water.  Check and remove non-bean particles as stone if any presented.  Soak beans with 2 cups water over night.  Drain, put them in a medium saucepan, add water just to cover the bean.  Bring it to a boil, turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Drain the bean and get rid of water.  Place the bean back to the pot add 1.5  cups water, bring it to a boil again.  Cover and reduce the heat down to simmering gently on medium low or low.  Cook until the beans is soft and tender about 1 hours. Check occasionally make sure all bean submerged in water.  Add more boiling water if needed.  When the beans is soft, remove the lid, add sugar, salt, and oil.  Use a spoon or spatula, smash the beans against the side or puree with a handheld blender (or food processor with cooking liquid if any then return to the pot). Continue smashing, stirring and scrape the bottom to prevent scorching and burning until most of the liquid evaporated.  You will feel stirring heavier and the bean paste still looks wet but it can hold shape.  They will get drier when cooling down.  Divide it into 16 heap Tbs spoon  balls.  Store in the fridge.

Green Tea Daifuku

This recipe will make 8 Greentea daifuku (55 g each: 2- inch round and 2/3 inch thick)  with 1:1 ratio dough and filling. If you want more doughy, reduce the filling into 1/2.  If you want bigger daifuku, divide the dough into 4 or 6.  I found several sizes at stores:  110 gr, 100 gr, 82 gr, and 30 gr.
1 recipe of mochi dough1/2 to 1 tsp green tea powder add to water -agar mixture before add to flour8 heap Tbs red bean paste filling 
Strawberry Daifuku Mochi - Ichigo Daifuku 
100 g glutinous rice flour (about 1 cup shy)
50 gr sugar (1/4 cup)
200 ml/cc water
1/2 tsp powder agar
8 medium or a dozen small strawberry , washed, dried and hulled
8 heap tablespoon red bean paste
2-3 Tbs potato starch
1-2 Tbs powder sugar
Put a heap tablespoon filling between 2 small plastic pieces, flatten it into a thin layer about 2 mm thick. Put a strawberry in the center of the bean paste and lift the plastic edge to press the bean paste around strawberry gently.  Repeat with remaining strawberries.  Put them in the fridge. If use small strawberry, divide the dough and filling and process in the same manner.Prepare mochi dough as instruction above. There is less sugar use here so the dough will be a little more sticky.  Divide the dough into 8-12 portions. Dust the hand and fingers with potato starch. Stretch a piece of dough with fingers; put a strawberry filling with the tip down and pull and gather the edges up around strawberry. Stretch the edge and pinch them together.  Round and smooth the daifuku with your palm and fingers. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.  Dust excess starch and brush them with powder sugar  or powder sugar and potato starch mixture (1:1).  Cover in an air tight container and they stay soft, fresh for a few days in the fridge.to be cont.