Taro Rice Flour Balls in Coconut Milk (Bua Loi Phueak)

Happy New Year! We’re already five days into the new year, but I’m still going to say “Happy New Year” since this is my first post in 2010.

This little blog has been around for three years now, and this year I resolve to give it a little more attention than in years past. From now on, you may see posts without recipes (gasp! – I’m still getting used to this), posts that deal more with entertaining and hosting food parties, and more recipes that explore my Thai and Chinese heritage. This has always been a self-expression project of mine, so I’m excited for the new things to come for this blog.

While I spent the holidays in Houston with my family, I spent some quality time with my mom in the kitchen. She wanted to make a Thai dessert for us, so I jumped at the chance to help her. She gave direction to make taro balls out of mashed taro and glutinous rice flour, and I followed. The dessert we made is actually a mix of bua loi pheuak (taro rice flour balls in coconut cream) and pheuak kaeng buat (taro in coconut milk), but I will simplify and call it by the rice flour ball name. I plan on making this again on one of those cold, cold nights to come. And I’m sure we’ll be having plenty of those this winter.

Taro Rice Flour Balls in Coconut Milk (Bua Loi Pheuak)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups taro, steamed and mashed
1/2 cup taro, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups glutinous rice flour
4 cups coconut milk
1 cup palm sugar (regular sugar will substitute fine)
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Either by hand or using the dough hook on an electric stand mixer, knead the rice flour with the mashed taro to form a soft dough, for about 5 minutes.
2. Use your hands to form small balls out of the taro dough, making them approximately 1/2 inch in diameter.
3. In a saucepan, heat coconut milk on medium-high. Once the coconut milk boils, add in sugar and salt.
4. Turn down the heat and add taro pieces to coconut milk and boil for 5-7 minutes or until taro is cooked, stirring continuously.
5. Gently add in taro balls to coconut milk and stir occasionally. Once the balls float atop the coconut milk, they are done. Serve warm.

Taro Mochi

Last week’s post featured the taro bread I made after reminiscing the food I grew up with in Houston. This week I took the same taro paste recipe and used it in this taro mochi. I’ve made mochi a time or two before, but I never successfully made a filled mochi until now.

There are so many different ways to eat mochi, I really can’t pick a favorite way. I primarily make a simple sweet mochi to top my homemade frozen yogurt, but last year I started frying blocks of plain mochi, wrapping it in seaweed and dipping it in soy sauce for a delicious savory snack.

When making a filled mochi, you have to work fast to get it completely enclosed around the filling. A lot of pinching is involved to seal the ball, and I recommend being liberal with the potato starch to minimize the amount of mochi stuck to your hands.

You’ll notice my mochi is purple, and that’s because I added in some taro milk tea powder. I did so for an extra oomph of taro flavor, but also so that you can tell what kind of mochi it is by its color. That, and I do love the color purple.

Taro Mochi

Ingredients:
1 cup Mochiko sweet rice flour
1 Tb taro milk tea powder (as used in taro mousse)
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup taro paste (described in taro bread recipe)
potato starch, for dusting

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, mix mochiko, taro powder, and sugar. Add in water and combine thoroughly.
2. Spread mochi mixture in 9 x 11 Pyrex or other microwaveable dish. Cover with plastic wrap.
4. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Take off plastic wrap and let cool about 4 minutes. Mochi should still be warm yet cool enough to handle.
5. Cut mochi into 12 large squares (roughly 2″x2″).
6. Taking one square at a time, spoon 1/2 teaspoon of taro paste in the middle of moch square. Pinch edges together to seal and mold mochi into a ball. Dust immediately with potato starch to prevent sticking.