I love mochi! Mochi is that sweet sticky Japanese snack that’s similar to Turkish Delight, another sweet I love. Sweet Mochi usually has a delicate coconut flavor making it even more yummy. It can be plain, filled with sweet beans, or layered.
In Hawaii this particular plain mochi is usually called Chi Chi Dango. It’s very popular for Girl’s Day, the Japanese festival wishing girls health and well being. It’s celebrated on March 3 every year. In Hawaii it’s celebrated by everyone it seems, but is definitely celebrated by folks of Japanese or Okinawan decent.
Mochi is made with Mochiko,sweet rice flour, and dusted with Katakuriko, a fine flavorless potato starch, to keep its surface from being too sticky. You can find both flours in most Asian markets, unless you’re in Hawaii where you’ll find it in every supermarket.
It’s pretty easy to make, you mix everything in one bowl, pour it into a baking pan, and bake. So here’s the recipe, which by the way you can change the food color to green for a pastle green mochi or omit the color for a white mochi. Whichever color you choose to make your mochi it will be yummy!
1 Box Mochiko Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 cups Water
1 Can Coconut Milk
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
3-4 drops red food coloring or pink if you have it
Katakuriko for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°
Grease a 9×13 baking pan
Mix dry ingredients except the Katakuriko in a large bowl
Add liquid ingredients to the Mochiko mixture
Pour into baking pan
Cover pan tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour
Remove from oven and cool completely
When cooled cut into squares using a PLASTIC knife or a pizza cutter (I love using my pizza cutter to cut mochi and bar cookies, it makes it easier to cut perfect bars and squares)
Roll each piece completely in Katakuriko and shake off any extra flour
Store in airtight containers at room temperature, it should keep for 2-3 days, that is if the pieces don’t disappear in a day!
My all time favorite Filipino dessert is Cassava Cake. What you may ask is Cassava Cake? It’s a sticky dessert made from the Cassava (Manihot esculenta) a starchy tuberous root widely cultivated in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It is a staple in the developing world. When it’s dried its to a powdery or pearly extract we call it tapioca!
In the Philippines cassava is grated and used as the main ingredient for desserts including Suman, a sticky dessert wrapped in banana leaves. I like that too, but my favorite is Cassava Cake the way my grandma used to make. This so called cake isn’t really a cake, at least not in consistency. It is not “cakey” or “spongy” at all, instead is has a sticky consistency similar to “mochi”.
I’ve had several versions of Cassava Cake, made by different friends hailing from other provinces of the Philippines. From what I have observed it seems that different regions prepare it differently. I like our version the best, the bottom part has that same sticky consistency, but it has an almost custardy top layer. My version is also pretty sweet, just perfect for my sweet tooth. I do have to say that Cassava Cake may be an acquired taste, some folks love it and others can’t stand it.
This recipe has been in our family for years! The only difference in we’ve “modernized” it. Back in the day my grandma and aunts would spend a day grating the cassava and coconut, then the evening soaking the grated coconut and squeezing out the milk. These day we buy the frozen coconut milk and grated cassava, so much easier. You can use canned coconut milk instead of the frozen one, but my aunt insists the frozen coconut milk is best. You can buy both the frozen grated cassava and coconut milk at most Asian markets. I hope you like it!
1 16 oz. bag frozen grated cassava, thawed
1 16 oz. bag frozen coconut milk, thawed
1 Can Evaporated Milk
1 Can Condensed Milk
1/2 Cup Sugar
6 Egg Yolks
1/2 Stick Butter, Melted
Mix all ingredients is a large bowl. Stir well to make sure sugar dissolves and milks are well blended.
Pour into 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
Place filled pan into a larger roasting pan.
Fill roasting pan with water until is reaches the half way point of the panning containing the cassava mixture.
Place both pans in a 350 degree oven and steam for about an hour or until the middle is set.