Japanese Traditional Food: Daifuku

26/01/2015

Daifuku with the azuki bean (red bean) paste filling.

Daifuku with the azuri bean (red bean) paste filling

 

Daifuku or Daifukumochi is one of the Japanese traditional confectionery consisting of small round glutinous rice cake (mochi) stuffed with sweet filling. Most common filling used is anko, sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans.

Comes with many varieties, sometimes we can find pale green or pink-coloured mochi instead the common one white colour. Some versions may contain whole pieces of fruit, mixtures of fruit and anko, or crushed melon paste. Most of the daifuku are covered in a fine layer of corn or potato starch to avoid from sticking to each other or to fingers. Some are covered with confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder.

Daifuku was originally called Habutai mochi (belly thick rice cake) because of its filling nature. Later, the name was changed to Daifuku mochi (big belly rice cake). Since the pronunciations of Fuku has two meaning (belly and luck) are the same in Japanese writing, the name was further changed to Daifuku mochi (great luck rice cake), a bringer of good luck. By the end of the 18th century, Daifuku were gaining popularity and people began eating them toasted. They were also used for gifts in ceremonial occasions.

ukiyoe-mochitsuki

Mochitsuke in the classic Japanese illustration

The traditional method of making mocha and daifuku is Mochitsuki. The polished glutinous rice is soaked overnight and cooked. Then, the cooked rice is pounded with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu). Two people will alternate the work, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi. They must keep a steady rhythm or they may accidentally injure one another with the heavy kine.

 

I have tasted the ichigo daifuku once. It is very tasty and sweet.

The white gummy- like dough outside is taste sweet, while the filling, ichigo (strawberry) inside has the natural sweet taste:)

Ichigo Daifuku

Ichigo (strawberry) Daifuku

 

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