Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lighter Onolicious Butter Mochi

Butter Mochi
It has been a while... My day job has been getting the best of me last year. I have been working long hours as usual and all my energies have been focused on work. Don’t get me wrong – I have been cooking, but it was mostly for sustenance. I have been relying on the cooking experience that I had in the previous year to add some variation, but I have had no time to read up on trends, new techniques, or even watch cooking shows. Honestly, I miss it... a lot!


However, it's a new year. I had time to relax and somewhat catch up. What the New Year also means is making mochi for our dojo's new year celebration. We celebrate Kagami Baraki every year, and one of the traditional treats is mochi. I feel compelled to somewhat maintain tradition - perhaps in a non-traditional way.

I have a small batch mochi recipe that I've been using when I have the urge to make mochi. But that is usually good for only 2-3 people (or one very hungry cook). I do not think that would be good for a potluck though, plus I am not looking forward to rolling mochi balls for 20 people (Watch out for it on a future post, though).

I found a recipe for Butter Mochi a while ago and decided it was time to make it for this year's party. It's not quite Japanese mochi, but I think this reflects my personality especially at the dojo: Slightly Japanese, slightly Hawaiian - although I am neither (I'm Filipino). In reading the reviews, some people said that this recipe reminded them of Filipino bibingka. So, this is almost perfect...

The one that I found originally had adzuki beans and I could not find it. Luckily, this one from allrecipes was very similar. The bonus was it had a high ranking.

What I don't like about it was it seemed to be too rich - eggs, butter, condensed milk, coconut milk - oh so yummy, but so high calorie. Besides, with all the rich foods everyone has been enjoying through the holidays, I thought a lighter version would be more appropriate, but being cautious not to sacrifice flavors.

Since the holidays allowed me to rest my brain cells, I believe I have come up with very good, if not excellent, substitutions. If it were last year, I'd probably come up with zilch. 

This is what I have so far… as always, let me know what you think.



Lighter Ono Butter Mochi

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb mochiko (1 box)
  • 1 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup lite coconut milk (I can)
  • 1 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or more)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp of salt

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 x13 inch baking dish (or if you prefer thinner cakes, 2 8 x 8 inch baking dishes).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and milk.
  • In a separate larger bowl, stir together the rice flour, sugar, and baking powder.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir to blend. Mix in melted butter. Pour into the prepared pan(s).
  • Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven. Cool completely, then cut into squares to serve.


Verdict:

Butter Mochi in Pan
Butter Mochi: The crust is the best!
As the Hawaiians would say, Auwe! This was a hit at the party. The kids loved it, and asked me to make it again soon. The adults even asked me for the recipe. I was quite flattered. My self-proclaimed non-dessert eating husband even had seconds!

I brought some extras at the office, and one of my office mates said that it reminded them of an Indian snack called Pitha. According to her, pitha also has rice flour, coconut milk, sugar - but no eggs. Another office mate said it tasted like a Malay snack called kuay. No sure of the spellings though…

One change that I would make is to figure out how to half the recipe. This resulted in two 8 x 8 pans (I made them thinner) and while that is awesome, I think that may be too much. I have some ideas... But I need to experiment. I guess no one would complain if I make some more.



As a side note... It really feels good to write again. I really do hope I have more opportunity to do so in 2017. I have a list of projects to share specifically those inspired by our last trip to Kona in Hawaii last summer. Unfortunately, this year is going to be busy again... No complaints... it's job-security. I am wishing for more time to write.

Here’s to more creativity and more writing. Happy New Year!!!