Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Apparently mochi, but not har gow, makes the dumpling shortlist.

Flipping through The Dumpling: A Seasonal Guide by Wai Hon Chu & Connie Lovatt, I saw all sorts of dumpling-related wonder...brilliantly colored photos, intricate diagrams explaining the various folds, recipes that altogether made the book at least an inch thick. Strangely, strawberry-anko mochi found its way amongst its more homely cousins, and somehow, the frustrating har gow "pau" fold failed to make an appearance.

Nevertheless, I had fun on my weekend adventures in har gow and mochi-making.

The "skin" of the har gow is made from tapioca and wheat starch.

I was afraid the dough would be sticky or difficult to work with, but the texture was actually quite springy and didn't stick at all.

I had neither a rolling pin or a heavy pot, though, and getting the "skin" to the right thin-ness is the most important part about good har gow. Thinness and shape...with practice!

Mochi is made with yet another type of flour -- glutinous rice flour ("mochiko"). This is sweet, or sticky, rice ground up into a white powdery substance not unlike tapioca or wheat starch. It is mixed with sugar and water. The resulting textures are very interesting: before cooking, the above is actually pretty watery. As for after cooking...

...it's fairly difficult to work with! (ever seen videos of Japanese men taking huge mallets to mochi?). I would definitely work with smaller quantities if I attempt mochi again in the future.

Above: my first, much misshapen but much-loved mochi containing a white chocolate-covered raspberry. I also left some mochi plain, to eat with ice cream at a later date. Stressful cookery, but yum!

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