Azuki (Red Bean) Filled Mochi

新年快樂! Happy Chinese New Year! I wish you all a prosperous year, and may your celebrations be filled with lots of food and warmth!

It’s been terribly frigid here, and in the city that never sleeps, I’m still expected to go into work as long as the subways are running. Luckily my commute only involves strapping on my boots and walking (though with this week’s weather, ice skates would have been more fitting).

In these frosty conditions, nothing warms me up like food, friends, and family. Tonight we will feast on lots of Chinese food, and I’ll be snacking on this azuki mochi throughout the day.

Tiny Urban Kitchen featured a post of Chinese New Year recipes, and the nian gao (年糕) post spoke to me. I love making (and eating) mochi, but I usually cook it using steam. So I thought I’d try out a baked mochi cake, stuffed with red bean paste. Thanks for the idea and the recipe, Jen!

If you haven’t eaten anything like this before, think of it like a super-chewy-Asian-flavored-brownie. Or blondie. It’s super easy to make, and even easier to eat!

Azuki (Red Bean) Filled Mochi
adapted from Tiny Urban Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 lb sweet rice flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups and 1 tablespoon milk
1 egg yolk, beaten
2 cups azuki (red bean) paste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9″x13″ baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt.
3. Add 2 beaten eggs and 2 cups milk into flour mixture and stir together until well combined.
4. Spread about half of the mochi batter into greased baking pan. Spoon the azuki paste on top of mochi layer and spread evenly. Cover with remaining mochi batter.
5. Whisk together egg yolk and tablespoon of milk to make egg wash. Brush top of mochi with egg wash.
6. Bake in oven for 60 minutes until golden brown.
7. Let cool 10-15 minutes then slice into squares.

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.