You may as well thank me now for the compliments and awestruck expressions you’ll receive if you bring this to your next dessert party. This mochi reminded MotH of the lokum that his colleague brings back from Turkey, but he liked this too. What I’ve achieved here is a culmination of ideas that came together on a whim. It all began with our red shiso plants that have been producing like mad, and right after seeing the jewel-like hue of Obachan’s shiso drink, I knew that I wanted to try something as creatively brilliant.
Now while I adore all kinds of mochi treats, there are those who simply don’t care for the soft, gummy-like texture of the dough or the flavor of the red bean paste (tsubushian). In this experiment I made the mochi smaller and filled it with earl grey tea flavored milk jam. Milk jam is like the ultimate caramel spread on salted crackers, but if you put it within something – for example, chocolate – it immediately melts in your mouth like the ganache part in a truffle. And who can resist those? While the texture is still soft, it’s the melt-factor that brings this together in what I’d like to affectionately dub as “melting mochi chews”. You don’t really taste the tart flavor of the shiso tea at all as the taste becomes muted in the mochi dough.
You’ll want to start at least a day in advance to make this recipe because first you’ll need to follow the instructions for making 1 recipe of milk jam at Kat’s blog. While I am particular to earl grey, you could also use the original or vanilla bean-flavored one too. Also, preparing the the red shiso “tea” a day early would speed things up as it needs to be cold before using.
Recipe1 cup brewed red leaf shiso tea (see instructions below)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup Mochiko sweet rice flour
1 recipe earl grey milk jam
cornstarch for dusting
Thoroughly combine cold shiso tea, sugar, and mochiko flour in a large glass bowl that will fit easily into your microwave. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes* until cooked through.
Turn dough out onto a work surface dusted with cornstarch. When cool enough to handle, divide in 2 equal portions and roll into logs, about an inch in diameter. Slice into 28 pieces (about 1.25 inches in length) and flatten into rounds, about 2 inches in diameter.
Fill the center of each round with a peanut-sized amount of cold milk jam. Working quickly, bring up the edges and pinch to seal, taking care that none of the milk jam seeps out. When all of the mochi rounds have been formed this way, place in a container lined with waxed paper, doubling up if necessary. Cover and store in a cool area or refrigerate and bring to room temperature when ready to serve.
*As microwaves will differ, the cooking time may vary between models. The trick is to cook the mochi mixture until it’s no longer liquid but not so much that it’s too firm to handle. After 5 minutes I checked the consistency, giving it a stir to evenly distribute any pocket areas that were more liquid than others.
Red leaf shiso tea
Take about 20 large red shiso leaves and place in a stainless steel saucepot along with 1 cup of water and a squeeze of lemon juice. Bring to a boil then remove from heat, allowing the leaves to steep in the hot liquid. When cool, strain into a clean jar, pressing leaves to extract any moisture, and refrigerate for future use.