Mochi -Strawberry Mochi Dessert-
Having been living in Japanese for 10 years, yet I’m always amazed at how delicate and delicious Japanese cuisine can be. Sometimes to get to know about a new dish, you need to seize a kikkake (which has the closest similarity to the word “opportunity” in English). My kikkake to know about ichigo daifuku – Strawberry Mochi Dessert, a chewy rice cake stuffed with juicy strawberry and scrumptious sweet anko (red bean) paste, was from 6 years ago.
During my first year in university, my part-time job was to provide language support to a Vietnamese junior high school student who came to Japan with little to no prior knowledge about the Japanese language. One of the benefits of working as a language supporter at a Japanese junior high school is that you get to join the lessons with the students and experience all the wonderful things offered by Japanese education.
In one Home Economics (or kateika in Japanese) lesson, the students (including me) were given a recipe to make ichigo daifuku. The ingredients and the steps to create the dish were all illustrated in a cute and simple way and precisely explained so that everybody could follow. And the final product was amazing! From the outside, they look like fluffy snowballs, but when you take a bite, a mixture of sweetness and citrusy sourness will ooze out, blend with each other and explode inside your mouth, like a firework of flavours. Such a flavourful combination was all wrapped inside one thin layer of white mochi. As soon as you finish one daifuku, you will immediately find your arm reaching for the second one.
But my tip to you here is please try cutting it in half because that’s how you will get to experience a sense of satisfaction when you can see the three layers inside. White, brown and red, the colours go so well with each other to the point it is not an exaggeration to say that ichigo daifuku is one of the most photogenic desserts in Japanese cuisine. A must try dessert for everyone! Recipes can be found online just by typing the keyword “Ichigo Daifuku recipe”, even English!