Will you be giving a valentine treat to someone this year?
In Japan it’s just the men that get the gifts off the women on February 14th, and it’s not just loved ones that are given gifts, it’s co-workers, school and college friends teachers you name it ! It can be quite a big task giving gifts to all your male friends . That’s a lot of chocolate! and some people make their own.
This year I decided to make a firm favourite at this time of year seeing as it’s peek strawberry season in Japan,chocolate ichigo daifuku! In Japanese ichigo いちご means strawberry.
I was inspired by seeing rows of these soft sweet mochi in wagashi stores in japan.
I remember buying one in Kyoto from a lovely old wagashi store when I was on my way to one of my favourite sakura spots Hirano shrine. You can follow my walking tour 2 in Kyoto under my travel section to visit some more favourite spots.
Recipe for choco ichigo daifuku makes x5
You will need:
100g of Joshinko flour .
(Joshinko (上新粉) is a Japanese non-glutinous rice flour. As Joshinko consists of non-glutinous rice, the cake/dumpling using it is not so sticky. Instead, they have a pleasant, chewy bite. Even though it’s common to use Shiratamako flour I like the smooth texture of the Joshinko and find it’s easy to work with.
x1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
130ml of water
x2 teaspoons of raw cacao powder
Potato starch to dust the surface
For the filling :
x5 strawberries with the core removed
Bean paste Anko (餡子) (you can use smooth Koshian (こしあん) or chunky Tsubuan (粒あん) what ever you prefer.)
You will also need some powdered icing sugar for dusting if you wish, a microwaveable bowl and compostable cling film.
Make x5 small balls of bean paste and put aside
Core your strawberries and put aside.
Add Joshinko flour to a bowl add sugar and cacao powder and mix then add your water and whisk well to combine add a little extra water if you think it’s too thick it should have a batter consistency.
Cover the bowl with cling film and microwave for 4 mins. Remove from the microwave and pound your mochi with a pestle. When it’s smooth and elastic tip the mochi out onto a slightly damp surface dampen your hands a little as well and knead the mochi.
Dust a different surface lightly with potato starch.
When your mochi is nice and stretchy place on your dusted surface and form into a log shape and cut five equal pieces.
Take each piece and roll into a ball then flatten in your hands. Put a bean paste ball in the middle of your flattened mochi and fold the mochi over the bean paste rolling it back into a ball. Dust each one with a little potato starch and do the same to the rest of the mochi.
Then make a cut across the top of the mochi balls so you can push a strawberry inside on the top. Dust with icing sugar and your done.
They are best eaten fresh on the day.
I have a few recipes to inspire you for Valentine’s Day on my recipe pages. Even if you do not make these to give away you can always make them for yourself as a treat.
Most of my inspiration for my recipes has always come from experiences on my travels to japan. I can’t wait to finally get back this year. It’s been a long wait.
Happy Valentine’s Day