Traditional Japanese

Warabimochi

WashokuLovers

This weekend just gone, we held our third Washoku Lovers Kitchen event! It was a great success, selling out really quickly – thanks to this we’re already working on our next event so everyone can start enjoying washoku at home.

Instead of just assisting this time around, I also got to help cook and demonstrate how to make warabimochiWarabimochi is different to regular mochi because it is not made from glutinous rice, but instead from bracken starch (warabiko). Bracken starch is made from fern-like plants (warabi), and is a fine powder with the consistency of flour.  Warabi is actually quite expensive, so warabimochi is occasionally also made from a mix of tapioca and potato starch, referred to as warabimochiko.

warabimochi pack

Photo: warabimochi set from Tokyo Mart

You can buy warabimochi set packs from Tokyo Mart at Northbridge Place which come with everything you need to make warabimochi at home – how convenient! The pack includes one sachet of warabimochiko, one sachet of kinako (roasted soybean powder) and one sachet of kuromitsu (sugar syrup – delicious…)

The Kansai Region, where warabimochi is most common, serves the dish cold with kinako  while other regions, especially the east and north of Japan, serve it hot with sugar syrup. Kinako has a nutty taste and is used in many traditional Japanese sweets. the kuromitsu can be served hot or cold as an additional topping that makes it extra sweet.

The instructions on the pack are written in Japanese, so we have translated it so that you can pick some up and make it at home.

 

Warabimochi Instructions

Equipment you will need:

A medium mixing bowl

A saucepan

A large spoon

A rice paddle

400mL water

 

  1. Fill the bowl a quarter of the way with water, then add ice until the bowl is about 80% full.
  1. Add one packet of warabimochiko into the saucepan, and the water. Mix the warabimochiko and water with the rice paddle until it becomes thick and batter-like. It will be very hard to stir at first, but as it dissolves it will be very easy to stir!

*Do not add extra water, because with too much water the recipe won’t work at all!*

  1. Put the saucepan on a high heat and continue to stir with the rice paddle for 2~3 minutes.

starch mix

Photo: the three stages of cooking the warabimochi 

  1. Continue mixing it over the heat. Chunks of the “batter” will start forming after just a few minutes. Once it has completely turned into what you see above, turn the heat off but continue stirring until it’s not white anymore. Using a spoon, take small amounts of the mixture out of the saucepan and drop it into the ice water from step 1. Don’t make the balls too big as it will put off the kinako ratio and you’ll lose flavour.

5. Once the warabimochi has set (this is pretty fast, almost immediately), take it out of the ice water and drain on paper towel. Dust with the kinako and when you’re ready to eat it, serve with kuromitsu.

kinako

Photo: dust with kinako powder

One packet makes 3~4 serves, depending on how much you love warabimochi. My pieces were quite large and after eating 3 I felt like I had had enough, so it could also serve more than 4.

There is an alternative method of letting the warabimochi set, which is to place a sheet of baking paper over a baking tray, spread the hot warabimochi “dough” over it so it’s nice and flat and then once it has cooled down completely (this takes longer), to cut it into nice and neat rectangles. It gives it a much more refined and restaurant look and feel.

Instead of kinako you can also use any flavours you want! Matcha is a very popular choice for this kind of dessert, especially since it’s already a powder.

whole plate

Photo: my hard work in the form of warabimochi

Cleaning tip: Let the pot you used to cook the warabimochi soak in cold water, and when it’s been there for a while, use your hands to peel off the remaining mixture. It’s quite hard otherwise, but once this trick was shown to me I realised how much time I wasted cleaning up at home!

 

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