Have you tried mochi? It’s hard to describe what it is, but a quick search of Google tells me that it’s a japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and then moulded into shape. That’s a pretty accurate description but what it doesn’t tell you is how tasty it is and the numerous options there are to enjoy it.
One of the first things I did when I got to Hong Kong earlier this month was to go to the supermarket and buy some ube mochi icecream. It’s SO good, I can’t even explain it. I’ve never found it in any chinese supermarkets in England so figured I’d eat as much as I could whilst I was visiting (what diet?). Since I got back to the UK, I’ve had a strong craving for it, so decided it was time to investigate if I could make a home made version. I knew I needed two essential ingredients – ube (also known as purple yam) and glutinous rice flour. I hit Chinatown over the weekend and came home with bags full of the stuff – it was a lot easier to find than I expected.
Ube originates from the Philippines, it’s often used in desserts and it’s bright purple. Yup. Looks a bit like a sweet potato, but the minute you cut it open, you can’t mistake it for anything else. Have a look for yourself..
I found and adapted from two separate recipes – one for the ice cream, one for the mochi.
For the ice cream (adapted from here):
- 375ml double cream
- 185ml milk
- 90g caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 500g peeled, boiled and mashed ube
1. Put the cream, milk and sugar into a pan and cook until it almost boils and the sugar has dissolved. Stir continuously.
2. Take off the heat, add the 2 egg yolks and mix into the milk/cream mixture. Return to the heat until it has thickened a bit more, then remove from the heat and set it aside to cool completely.
3. Whilst you are making the above mixture, make sure to peel the ube, start boiling it and then mash it once it’s ready. Leave this to cool completely as well.
4. I found it easier to put both the cream mixture and the mashed ube into a blender and blend it altogether before putting into my ice cream maker as the blade is plastic and wouldn’t have done much to mix them together.
6. The final step is to pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and let it churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or until frozen. Mine took around 35 minutes – but it was still quite soft when I had stopped it. Stick it in the freezer for a couple of hours and it will resemble real ice cream!
I let my ice cream set overnight and made the mochi the following day, the process itself is quite quick but also very messy!
For the mochi (recipe from here):
- 220g glutinous rice flour (also known as sweet rice flour)
- 110g caster sugar
- 200ml water
1. Mix the rice flour and sugar together, then slowly add the water whilst continuously whisking
2. Once smooth, place the bowl into the microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Take it out, give it a stir and have a look at what the consistency is like – it should be less liquidy and start clumping together.
3. Return to the microwave for a further 30 seconds, take out and stir. By this point, the mixture should be sticky and no longer runny. Use cornflour to flour a clean surface, put the mixture onto the surface and start to spread it out – take care because it’ll be hot!
4. Once the mix has cooled down enough, you can use a rolling pin to get the right level of thickness, I’d suggest 2 – 3mm. Cut out circular pieces and stick these into the freezer – it’ll stop the ice cream melting quickly once you start making the ice cream mochi. Mochi stays quite pliable so no need to worry about freezing it for too long.
The final step was to add a scoop of ice cream into the centre of the mochi, then wrap the mochi around the ice cream. Sounds easy, right? For me, it was messy. Ice cream everywhere.. mochi not sticking out enough! I ended up with some longer shaped pieces of mochi rather than the traditional round mochi. Even though it doesn’t look all that, to an extent, it does taste like the shop bought stuff!
I think this has satisfied my ube mochi ice cream craving for the time being, but now that I’ve cracked out the ice cream maker, I’m going to have to whip up some new treats!