Sticky and chewy round mochi stuffed with sweet red bean paste and dusted with kinako four. This recipe shows you how to make irresistible Red Bean Mochi with Kinako at home with quick steam over the stovetop.
Food might not be the main reason I headed on a trip to Japan, but it was an essential part of the experience. My recent trip to Japan brought the opportunity to explore Japanese cuisine and culture. One of the most memorable foods I had during my vacation is mochi. There is something about the chewy texture of mochi that makes it wholly unforgettable.
Red Bean Mochi with Kinako is my new favorite mochi at the moment. The combination of sweet red bean paste, kinako, and mochi is definitely a winning combination. Today I will show you how to make soft and chewy mochi at home.
Mochi is a traditional Japanese New Year’s food but is eaten year-round in many different shapes and flavors. It is basically a Japanese rice cake that is made of short-grain glutinous rice. That is why it is naturally white, sticky, elastic, and chewy. Moreover, it tastes like rice when eaten as it is without any filling or coating.
About Red Bean Mochi with Kinako
I found this store in Nara where they make mochi the traditional way with the big wooden hammers called Nakatanidou during my last vacation last year. The store offers the traditional mochitsuki pounding method to turn glutinous sticky rice into a stretchy and chewy mochi. When the huge green glutinous rice lump is tossed into the wooden mortar, that is when the customers and passersby form a crowd in front of the shop. Then, the workers carry out the rapid pounding of mochi, punctuating each swing of the heavy pestle with a shout.
The action-packed mochi pounding show is not just for the show. The result of that pounding is the softest and chewiest mochi I have eaten so far. The store specializes in yomogi mochi, which is green rice cakes made with Japanese mugwort, filled with sweet red bean paste, and dusted with kinako or roasted soybean flour. The mochi is served so fresh that it is still warm, deliciously chewy, and unbelievably soft, just like melted marshmallows. Nakatanidou is definitely a place you should go to when you are around Osaka.
The mochi from Nakatanidou was that good. Thus, I am determined to make it at home. Believe me that this was actually my first time making mochi and it was absolutely huge success. I followed some daifuku mochi recipes online and did some alterations here and there. Just for your information, daifuku is a mochi type with sweet red bean paste filling. I substituted the cornstarch with kinako or roasted soybean flour for the coating, making this a Red Bean Mochi with Kinako (Kinako Daifuku Mochi) recipe. In addition, I also omitted the Japanese mugwort because of its availability in Indonesia. Fortunately, it absolutely did not make a great difference in terms of the flavor, but its removal made my mochi simply plain and white.
Kinako is produced by finely grinding roasted soybeans into powder. It is yellow in color and widely used in Japanese cooking, especially with sticky desserts, such as dango, wagashi, and mochi. The taste of kinako is slightly similar to roasted peanut with a nutty aroma.
Kinako is available at Japanese grocery stores, or it can be purchased online. I found this kinako soy bean flour sold on Amazon. Alternatively, you can find unroasted soybean flour and roast it at home in a pan over the stove until golden brown. You can also make kinako at home from scratch by toasting the soybeans and blending them in a food processor until powdery.
How to Make Red Bean Mochi with Kinako
Making mochi is a fairly easy process. Mix glutinous rice flour, water, and sugar all together and steam the mixture for a few minutes until it has become opaque and smooth. Shaping and filling the mochi is probably the trickiest part because the dough is super sticky and the process can be pretty handful. The result is smooth, chewy, and elastic mochi that brings a nostalgic reminder of all the happy memories in Japan.
1. Make mochi
Mochi is traditionally made from whole rice that is steamed and pounded repeatedly with wooden mallets in a traditional mortar until the rice is smooth, sticky, and elastic. Nowadays, you can make mochi from sweet glutinous rice flour. Most recipes call for shiratamako glutinous rice flour, which I cannot find in my area. Therefore, I decided to make the recipe with regular mochiko. Combine glutinous rice flour, sugar, and water. Then cook the mixture on a stovetop or microwave and stirred in between halfway until it became a sticky, opaque, and chewy dough.
I used the steaming method for making the recipe. Put the bowl of the glutinous rice flour mixture into a steamer. Do not forget to cover the lid with a towel to catch the condensation. Steam the mixture for 15 minutes and stir it halfway to prevent it from getting lumpy.
The picture below is the progress of steaming the glutinous rice flour mixture during the halfway and finished product. Look at how smooth the mixture is on the right after steaming.
2. Shape and fill the mochi
To prevent it from sticking everywhere, sprinkle kinako generously on the work surface, a rolling pin, and even your hands. Then, transfer the cooked mochi on top. Sprinkle more on top of the mochi. Once it has cooled down a bit, divide the mochi into 6. Roll each with a rolling pin into a thin layer around 4-inch / 10cm rounds. Make sure not to roll the mochi too thin to prevent tearing. Add 1-1.5 tablespoon of red bean paste on the center.
There are mainly two types of red bean paste, chunky and smooth red bean paste. The ingredients used and method of cooking are the same, but the smooth one requires additional steps of pureeing and straining the cooked beans to remove the husk. Personally, I prefer to use the chunky red bean paste with a coarse texture and red bean skin still kept in the paste. However, it is up to you which red bean paste you prefer as filling. Do not forget to check out my Red Bean Paste recipe if you want to make your filling by yourself, or if you like to save time, you can purchase the premade red bean paste from a Japanese supermarket.
To seal the filling, pinch the four corners of the mochi together. Then, pinch the remaining corners together to close any seam. Put the seam part on the bottom.
More Japanese Dessert Recipes
Don’t forget to check out these delicious Japanese dessert recipes!