A Glutton for Butter Mochi

Butter mochi -- my downfall.

Butter mochi — my downfall.

 

Last week, I gorged myself.

And I blame Chef Jeffrey Stout for it.

You see, after a recent trip to Hawaii, I happened to post a photo on Facebook of a unique sweet treat that I enjoyed there that was quite new to me: butter mochi.

Stout, former chef of Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino who’s now building his own restaurant, Orchard City Kitchen in Campbell, did what any self-respecting chef would do when he spied the photo and sensed my longing — he emailed me a recipe for it.

Curses!

It was far easier to make than I thought it would be. When I tried a piece, I immediately ate a second, then had to restrain myself from reaching for a third.

Chef, what have you done!

The recipe comes from Stout’s neighbor, Taryn Esperas, who has been known to make this for neighborhood block parties, where it’s always one of the first things to be gobbled up.

It’s cake. But not. It’s custard. But not really. It’s sort of its own delightful hybrid.

Imagine digging into a very eggy, vanilla-rich custard — only it’s not spoonable, but so dense, bouncy and chewy that you can pick it up with your finger to enjoy, much like a brownie or bar cookie. There’s just something so comforting and satisfying about it.

Mochiko or sweet rice flour.

Mochiko or sweet rice flour.

Its unusual texture comes from the fact that it’s made with mochiko flour or sweet rice flour that’s easily available on the shelf at Japanese markets. It is cooked glutinous rice that’s ground so finely that it resembles cornstarch. That also makes butter mochi naturally gluten-free.

They sure don’t call it butter mochi for nothing. It is very buttery. The batter is made with a cube of butter that’s melted, plus 3 cups of milk (I used 2 percent) and five whole eggs.

I like it best the day it’s baked because it comes out of the oven with a crispy top and edges, which makes for a nice contrast from the smooth, soft, sticky interior. The butter mochi will keep for days in a covered container or you can even freeze some to enjoy another time.

There are many recipes for butter mochi online. Some call for coconut milk or evaporated milk, which would make for an even richer rendition. Others are sprinkled with coconut for more sweetness and texture. Some even call for a dash of rum or whiskey. There are even recipes for chocolate butter mochi and pumpkin butter mochi.

Esperas and Stout, who is half Japanese and remembers pounding mochi by hand in Japan with his relatives, swear by this basic version.

It’s definitely a winner in my book.

And damned, if I don’t succumb to another piece.

Butter Mochi

(Makes 1 large pan or at least 24 pieces)

1 pound mochiko flour (1 box)

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

3 cups milk

5 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, combine mochiko, sugar and baking powder.

In a medium bowl, combine butter, milk, eggs and vanilla.

Mix wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until well combined.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour until golden brown.

Cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into small squares with a sharp knife. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

From Taryn Esperas

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Date: Wednesday, 21. May 2014 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Asian Recipes, Chefs, General, Recipes (Sweet)

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14 comments

  1. 1

    I never tried mochi let alone butter mochi before,…so I lust change that! This butter mochi looks very interesting & truly appetizing too!

    MMMMMMM,….😃😃

  2. 2

    New dish to me, and one I should get acquainted with. Butter Mochi looks so great! I’d definitely gorge myself. ;-)

  3. 3

    omgmusttry!

  4. 4

    Yes, growing up in Hawaii you see butter mochi has a popular pot luck option. Someone’s always bound to bring a plate of it! I agree, it’s best eaten fresh out of the oven. They never seem to last more than a day. In Hawaii, the best treats are always the ones that are basic and easy to make!

  5. 5

    Omg that looks so good. Wish I had some right now!

  6. 6

    Curses, indeed!

    (And here I thought we were friends.)

    Chef, Carolyn, what have you done??!

  7. 7

    That looks ever so good. A fantastic treat.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  8. 8

    I always use Mochiko but I’ve never used it this way. What a great idea and I would definitely try your recipe. Thank you.

  9. 9

    Sometimes my mom makes a chocolate version too…either way it’s divine. Thanks for this post!

  10. 10

    I said “must try,” and indeed I did. Thanks for this tip, Carolyn.

    Easy to make once you get the secret ingredient. The texture of moshi is not for everyone but the flavor of buttery custard is terrific. I liken it to butter gummy bears! In a good way.

    You’re right — best while still warm, as the edges and top are crispy.

  11. 11

    Oh, and one more comment: I made a half recipe using an 8×8 pan. Worked perfectly and that way, I can make the other half another day and have it twice in the still-warm state!

  12. 12

    Moe: “Butter gummy bears” — I LOVE that description. No wonder I like butter mochi so much then. I am a fiend for gummi bears. I can polish off a bag of those like nobody’s business. ;)

  13. 13

    Just made a batch of this and realized that it was similar to bibingka, a Filipino dessert that has the same bouncy custard texture, but uses coconut and condensed milk instead. The butter mochi was very easy to make and I loved the buttery taste. Thanks for the recipe! :)

  14. 14

    Row: How interesting that it’s similar to a Filipino dessert, too. But then again, Hawaiian cuisine is such a blend of cultures, I can see the connection.

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