...Red Bean Glutinous Rice Balls (Mochi)

This dessert has many variations in Asian cuisine; the Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese all have their own versions.  The one that you can find in Hong Kong style pastry shops contain either sweetened red bean or peanut, with a sprinkling of shredded coconut.  The flavours of the coconut and red bean are reminiscent of the hot red bean soup dessert served at the end of meals in a Chinese restaurant (if you receive fortune cookies, ask the server for the real Chinese dessert); only at room temperature, making it a perfect treat for the warmer months of summer.
Ingredients: (Yield ~24 balls)
-3/4 cup red beans (or buy the ready to use paste)
-Rock sugar, to taste
-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
-1 bag of glutinous rice flour (400 g)
-1 cup of sugar
-1 can of coconut milk (400 mL)
-1/2 cup of milk 
-1 cup of shredded fine coconut (we used unsweetened)


1. Soak the red beans overnight in water.  Add the drained beans to boiling water and cook until soft on medium-low heat.  This can take up to 1.5 hours depending on how long you pre-soak the beans.  Add more water to the pot as needed as it evaporate.  Halfway through the cooking process, add as much rock sugar to the water as you like to sweeten the beans.

2. Once the beans are soft, drain the water.  Depending on if you like whole beans or a paste, you can use a processor to blend it.  We blended our beans and then added vegetable oil to make the beans into a paste.
3.  Mix together the glutinous rice flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Then gradually add the coconut milk and cows milk while stirring the mixture.  The texture should be stiffer than pancake batter, but we've seen people who like to make their mochi extra soft and add even more milk.
4. Put the mixture onto a shallow greased dish and steam for about 45 minutes to an hour or until you can no longer taste uncooked flour.  You can split the mixture into two batches for steaming if your dish is not big enough.
Uncooked mochi
Cooked mochi
5. Once the mochi is cool enough to be handled you can start making the balls.  Take about a golf ball size of mochi and flatten it into a round disc (not too thin).  Place the red bean paste in the centre and fold the edges to seal it in.  Roll in your hands to make a uniform ball and then place into the coconut to coat.  
*Hint:  If you mochi is not sticky enough use a tiny bit of vegetable oil to help the coconut stick.  Conversely, if your mochi is too sticky to handle, use gloves or make sure your hands are wet when you handle it so it doesn't stick to your hands.



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