kirimochi! This is traditionally eaten at New Year's for good luck, but it is so delicious and easy to make you will find that people eat it all the time as a treat with tea.
Kinako, also labeled Toasted Soybean Flour, is a powder made from roasted soybeans that have been ground up. The name "kinako" means "yellow flour" in Japanese, which I suppose is accurate but does nothing to describe how delightful it is. It is very tasty, smooth and nutty, almost like dried peanut butter. This recipe is probably the most traditional use for it, but it is also very tasty on ice cream and in Greek yogurt.
Another traditional use for kinako is another wagashi, called warabi mochi (蕨餅). It's made from braken fern starch, which makes it more jelly-like than mochi made with rice, and it is served rolled in kinako.
My mom's favorite mochi from the Japanese market is a daifuku that is green from the herb yomogi and covered in kinako. The combination of sweet azuki bean paste and kinako with the mochi is definitely a winning combination. I'm not sure if the commercial version is merely colored green or if it actually has the juices from the yomogi, but it is delicious nonetheless. I will have to try to make some yomogi daifuku myself and compare it to the supermarket version.
But right now, let's make some kinako mochi!
Unlike the yakimochi, I use the stovetop to heat up the kirimochi for this recipe. The toaster oven or the broiler makes them puff up like rice crackers, but here I wanted it gently toasted, so it retained its chewy nature without puffing up too much. You can also drop the kirimochi in boiling water to soften, and then simply scoop out the kirimochi and skip the step of wetting the mochi, but I like the textural contrast of the outside of the grilled mochi.
Kinako Mochi (きな粉餅)
8 pieces of kirimochi
1/4 cup of kinako
2-3 tbs of granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
First, cut the kirimochi in half, then grill the mochi over medium high heat until the mochi is soft all the way through, and slightly browned on the outside. You can also use the boiling water method above. In the pictures, I am using a Japanese wire basket used for grilling, but you can use a frying pan. After they are grilled, dip the kirimochi in water. Shake off the excess water, then roll in the kinako/sugar/salt mixture until coated on all sides. Serve immediately, with green tea.
Ichigo Daifuku Mochi