One of my friends fell in love with some peanut-coated, black sesame paste mochi balls at a restaurant, so we decided to recreate them. For a more conventional recipe, you can use a red bean filling.
To make the mochi, I use a Tatung rice cooker in which you put water in both an outer pot and an inner pot. You can improvise this arrangement on the stove: Set a wire rack or an upside-down bowl in a large pot of water. Place whatever ingredients you’re steaming in another bowl and set it on top of the rack or the upside-down bowl to keep it out of the water. Cover pot with a lid and bring water to a boil.
Mochi Balls with Sesame Filling and Crushed Peanuts
Adapted from the World Journal and Just One Cookbook
Yield: about 24 mochi balls
- 1 1/2 cups (2 rice cooker cups) sticky rice flour
- 3/4 cup (1 rice cooker cup) sugar
- 1 1/8 cup (1 1/2 rice cooker cups) water
- 1/2 cup roasted black sesame seeds
- 6-7 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts (optional)
- corn starch OR tapioca starch, for dusting work surface and outside of mochi balls (if not using peanuts)
- In either the inner pot of the rice cooker or a bowl that you will steam on the stove, stir together sticky rice flour and sugar.
- Add water and mix well. Make sure there are no small pockets of flour left.
- Steam mixture.
- If using the rice cooker, place inner pot into the rice cooker and add 1 rice cooker cup of water to the outer pot.
- If cooking on the stove, steam for about 30 minutes.
- While the mochi is cooking, grind sesame seeds using a food processor or with a mortar and pestle. Grind them until they release their oil and become moist. They will smell very fragrant.
- Transfer ground sesame seeds to a small bowl and add honey. Stir together until they form a thick paste.
- Using the mortar and pestle, crush the peanuts into small bits and place them in another small bowl.
- Dust a work surface and your hands with corn OR tapioca starch. If you’re not using peanuts, place some corn OR tapioca starch in a small bowl.
- While the mochi mixture is still hot, begin to shape the mochi balls. Work quickly, because the mochi becomes harder to handle when it cools.
- Spoon out a small portion of mochi (about 2 tablespoons) and flatten it on the work surface. Dusting it lightly with corn OR tapioca starch makes it easier to handle, but too much will make it difficult to seal the edges later. (It’s not a very delicate recipe, so just experiment until you find an amount that works for you.)
- Place about 1 teaspoon of sesame paste in the center.
- Pinch the edges of the mochi together, pick up the ball, and roll it in the bowl of peanut bits OR corn OR tapioca starch so it’s no longer sticky. Don’t worry if the mochi ball sticks to the work surface and you have to scrape it off, or if the mochi stretches and breaks. Just pinch the edges back together.
- Roll the mochi ball gently between your palms to make it round and set it aside on a serving platter.
- Cover mochi balls until ready to serve, so they don’t dry out and harden.