Monday, October 11, 2010

Butter Mochi

I still remember with fondness those days when I had just been married in my mid-twenties, and my sister was Director of Japanese Programs at the Sheraton Waikiki. If I close my eyes I can almost see the sunlit Surf Room of the Moana Surfrider with their lovely lunch buffet of a myriad delights, and I can almost hear the low din of happy people on holiday, with waiters and waitresses weaving through the tables neatly covered in pink and white cloths, with their pitchers full of iced tea with pineapple juice, the ice cubes lazily clunking around inside them.

The Waikiki area is a perfect beach resort, almost like a chapter in Disneyland. It's very rarely that you see things tourists don't want to see. Everything is clean and well-ordered and panders to the perfect holiday on a tropical island without some of the more unpleasant 'reality' of the tropics. You don't really notice the presence of mosquitoes or fungus growing in all manners of places, and you don't see the telltale signs of bad maintenance like chipped tiles and broken fences that you often see in many tropical areas.

The other day I was looking for a recipe with glutinous rice. This was because I had purchased some to make Puto, a Filipino steamed rice cake, and then after finding out that the recipe didn't really produce the results I wanted, I decided to look for other ways to get rid of the rest of the glutinous rice flour. This was when I came across the word 'Butter Mochi'. Someone mentioned it in the comments of a blog explaining how to make Mochi, saying that it tasted nothing like Butter Mochi and that she was terribly disappointed.

I don't think I've ever had Butter Mochi. Even though when I'm in Hawaii, the locals think I'm a local (Japanese American) who has had a 'mainland education', I don't know that much about Hawaii, and I really don't think I've ever had Butter Mochi.

I kept the recipe lying around for days unconvinced whether I should try making it, until finally I thought: What the hell. I might as well make it, because this bastardized version of Mochi is kind of like a Japanese American and kind of like me. Although some sources speculate that Butter Mochi is a bastardized Bibingka (another Filipino rice cake) meets Portugal, I don't think it's anything like Bibingka. Whatever Butter Mochi is, I feel it's more like an accurate representation of the Hawaiian brand of East meets West. I mean if a lot of the immigrants had glutinous rice flours lying around their homes, wouldn't someone there have just come-up with this one day when they suddenly needed to bake a cake for some guests, but didn't have any ordinary wheat flour lying around? Let's just throw in the rice flour and lots of eggs and butter because rice flour isn't going to get fluffy!

So here it is. The original recipe is from here, but these are the proportions for a smaller baking pan.

Butter Mochi


312g Glutinous Rice Flour

342g Sugar

1 Tsp Baking Powder

81g Melted Butter

486 ml Whole Milk

4 small-medium eggs (3 if large)

1 Tsp Vanilla Essence*

Nearly 1 Cup Dessicated Coconut Flakes

23 cm x 23 cm Baking Pan <---Turned out to be too small. *I used my home made vanilla essence made with vodka and vanilla beans. I followed this recipe.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

Step 2: Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl with a beater so that it's well-mixed.

Step 3: Beat the eggs in a smaller bowl. Add the milk and vanilla essence.

Step 4: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Step 5: Pour in the melted butter and dessicated coconuts.

Step 6: Pour the batter into a buttered baking pan and bake in the oven for 1 hour.

Step 7: Remove from oven after 60 minutes or when the top of the Butter Mochi is golden brown, and cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

Step 8: Enjoy!

While this was baking, my apartment was filled with the sweet aroma of sugary coconuts and vanilla. I'd say it's a happy smell. The best part about the Butter Mochi is contrast of the crispy coconut crust on top and the chewy layer of Mochi beneath it. I think when I make this again, I'm going to use a much larger baking pan so that there's more crispy coconut.

Notes: Around 35 minutes into baking this, I walked over to the oven and took a peek to see how things were coming along. It turns out the baking pan was too small and the Butter Mochi had puffed up like Yorkshire Pudding or Dutch Babies. Lesson learned. Please use a larger baking pan than 23 cm x 23 cm. I'll give this another go and post the ideal size.


Anncoo said...

This is new to me. Never tried butter mochi before and I would like to try it someday with that simple ingredients :)
BTW please change my link to @Anncoo Journal as I am closing my old blog soon.

Good Day :))

Jhonny walker said...

This is really cute. I am surely gonna make it :)

Dorte said...

Mmmm I can just imagine the smell. Would like to make that one day ... if I stumble over some glutinous rice flour

elra said...

Sounds delicious ! My entire family love mochi so much, I should try to make it myself.

pigpigscorner said...

wow, butter mochi? I've never had that before. But you can't go wrong with butter right =P

Lori said...

I love mochi and I am not sure if I ever actually at authentic mochi. I made it and loved it. Unfortunately my husband does not so I have to find someone who really likes it with me to make it worth making. I would love to give this one a try.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Lori: I think it might be that peculiar chewy texture of Mochi that your husband finds appalling. Butter Mochi has a different texture and it's chock full of eggs, butter and sugar so he might find it more appealing. :)

♥peachkins♥ said...

butter mochi sounds like my kind of food..LOL!

Taste of Beirut said...

How interesting! I have never had mochi but now I am eager to seek it out just to get the taste of it. We use rice flour in sweets in Lebanese kitchens too, I am not sure it is the same or has the same texture; your version sounds delicious and moist with the eggs and coconut; kind of like a Westernized version.
I am so glad you find my blog of interest and your words touched me and made me happy. Love these cauliflower fritters and now I am curious to see your version!

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Butter Mochi is was born in the USA so it is westernized. I thought it was surprisingly good and Ronny loved it too.

I'd be very interested how rice flour is used in Lebanese cooking! I have a bag of non-glutinous rice flour too which I have to get rid of. :)

AugustDiners said...

Stumbled upon your blog looking for mochi recipe. i love mochi! and its interesting ive never heard of butter mochi, probably not too popular in my country.
Will give it a try soon :)