I shall start with Warabi Mochi. I made this on Saturday morning for Gina to try. I first fell in love with Japanese confectionery (Wagashi, 和果子） when I went to a Hokkaido fair at Isetan. I remembered it was rather expensive but considering it being airflown... oh well... Later, I found this particlar dessert at Aji-Tei Zabo and Tampopo. It just doesn't taste quite right. It's either too hard or too soft, unlike the ones which I have had. It should be soft but QQ. I wanted to try making some myself but was unable to get hold of the main ingredient, Warabi powder. Finally, I found a recipe using Lotus Root powder at here, (search under 日本点心, 厥饼).
Not quite the same with those using the actual Warabi plant (Bracken or Fiddlehead Fern); my sis commented that it lacked the 'grassy' taste, but it was close enough for me. In Japan, they either use Warabi powder or use the root of the Warabi plant to make this dessert. You can see the plant here. The recipe as below, made slight adjustments to the original for convenience and texture's sake.
Lotus Root powder is supposed to be beneficial for the lungs. It contains zero fats and contains just little amount of carbohydrates. You can also use rock sugar if you do not like Japanese Black sugar, but I suggest you give the Black sugar a try. Lovely aroma.
Lotus Root Powder - 100g
Sweet Potato Flour - 25g
Water - 100ml
Black/Dark Brown Sugar (Kurozatou, くろざとう)- 130g
Water - 300ml
Soy Bean Powder (Kinako, きなこ) for sprinkling
1) Mix (A) well and set aside.
2) In a saucepan, boil (B) till sugar dissolves.
3) Pour mixture (B) into mixture (A), stir well before returning mixture to saucepan.
4) Heat up mixture over slow fire, stirring constantly till mixture becomes translucent.
5) Turn off heat and continue to stir to get a QQ consistency (elastic).
6) Pour into a pan and steam over high heat for 25 minutes. (I steamed for 20 minutes only) Leave aside to cool.
7) In a tray, sprinkle soy bean powder and transfer the gooey glob to the tray. Sprinkle some more soy bean flour on top.
8) Press the mochi till it is quite even and cut into pieces (I use scissors). Coat the pieces with soy bean powder as you go along.
9) Best served chilled and with green tea or barley tea (Mugicha, 麦茶).
*Note : Do not attempt to double the recipe. You will have a hard time stirring in the later stage. The mochi is not that sweet, just nice.
**Note : It would be good to use a non-stick saucepan.