Saturday, 27 March 2010

Ichigo Daifuku (いちご大福)

Two years have passed since I last promised my better half that I'll make him some Daifuku(大福); I kept putting it off... day after day, week after week, month after month (^^''') I guess it is because I am not a fan of it the Japanese mochi, Taiwanese mochi or even our local traditional ‘Mua Chee’. I do not find it appealing at all, sinking my teeth into a clump of soft, chewy, floury dough. But my better half likes I finally made them a couple of days ago.

I used to think that Japanese kanji 大福 (daifuku) means mochi (rice cake made with glutinous rice flour) in Japanese. I thought they refer to the same thing. It was only after I did a search or rather, a study on daifuku that I learned the kanji for mochi is actually 餅. Here's sharing with you my little discovery:

Just like the other types of wagashi, 和菓子 or traditional Japanese confectionery, daifuku is made with mochi stuffed with sweetened adzuki red bean paste. So, daifuku is a type of mochi, while mochi is the glutinous rice cake which can be steamed, boiled, grilled and served in various ways.

Daifuku was originally called Harabuto mochi(腹太餅), which means one can fill up his stomach by eating it, (hmm, probably because of the generous amount of filling and the glutinous rice dough?). Later, the name was changed to Daifuku mochi(大腹餅, big belly rice cake). Since the pronunciation of Fuku(腹, belly) and Fuku(福, fortune) is the same in Japanese, the name was further changed to Daifuku mochi(大福餅), and eventually it is known as Daifuku(大福, big fortune).

The basic ingredient in daifuku making is the glutinous rice flour. There are two different kinds of Japanese glutinous rice flour: 餅粉(もちこ) Mochiko and 白玉粉 (しら たまこ) Shiratamako. Mochiko is made by washing glutinous rice and milled; to make Shiratamako, glutinous rice is first washed then soaked in water and milled, but unlike mochi-ko, water is being added throughout the milling process. The solution is then dehydrated and dried. Either one can be used to make daifuku, but the texture and consistency of the mochi is different. Mochi made with mochi-ko are more sticky and less elastic, they dissolve more on eating and do not have such a "rubbery" consistency. Mochi from Shiratama-ko are more elastic and subtle in flavor.

Another type of flour that is used in the making of daifuku is Katakuriko. Katakuriko is potato starch which is used extensively in Japanese kitchen. It is a thickening agent for soups and broths, and is often used to coat ingredients before frying or simmering. Katakuriko is used for dusting the sticky mochi.

It is important to get the right flour. I made the mistake of buying Joushinko (上新粉) a non-glutinuous rice flour instead of Mochiko. So I went back to Daiso again to look for Mochiko and I was lucky to spot Katakuriko on the shelves too.

Daifuku comes in many varieties and flavours. I made ichigo daifuku (strawberry daifuku)...a variation that contains a whole strawberry which is coated with red bean paste before it is wrapped with mochi. I learned how to make them by following this video clip :)

It was my first attempt at making was a tricky task trying to wrap the sticky mochi. The mochi gets less flexible as it cools, so the wrapping has to be done quickly while it is still hot. They didn't look as good as I expected, but I was really caught by surprise at how delicious they turn out! I couldn't believe myself that I actually like the texture of the soft, slightly chewy mochi which taste plain and dry at first bite...but the taste is compensated when you get to the sweet red bean paste and once you hit the juicy strawberry the whole combination is simply awesome! My kids love these daifuku too, there were not enough to go around since they were made in small batches. It was only later that evening that I realised why most recipes make only a small quantity 6 to 8 strawberries at most. The reason is that daifuku tastes best on the day it is made (the mochi will get harden) so it is better not to make more than you can eat within a day or so.

Strawberry Mochi (Ichigo Daifuku)
(makes 8 ichigo daifuku)

8 small strawberries
160g red bean paste
100g mochiko(glutinous rice flour)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
120ml water* (original recipe uses 100ml water)
some katakuriko (potato starch) for dusting

Method: (video demo)
  1. Rinse, dry, and hull the strawberries. Roll red bean paste into 20g balls. Flatten each ball into a small disc and wrap with one strawberry. Keep in fridge.
  2. Mix glutinous rice flour and sugar together in a heatproof bowl. Add water and stir to dissolve. (*Original recipe calls for 100ml of water, but I added more as the mixture was too dry, unlike the one shown in the video demo.) Cover the bowl with heatproof cling wrap or a heatproof plate/cover. Place in a steamer and steam over high heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Dust generously with potato starch. When the mochi is ready, stir it with a wet heatproof spatula till smooth and transfer it onto the prepared baking tray(the mixture will be very sticky, I could hardly stir it). Sprinkle the mochi with potato starch, dust hands with potato starch and pat the mochi to flatten it slightly (the mochi is still hot). Use a pastry scraper or a knife to cut it into 8 portions.
  4. Take one piece of mochi, flatten and stretch it into a round disc, dust off any excess potato starch. Place a strawberry (Step 1) in the middle, with the tip side facing down and wrap the mochi around it by pulling and stretching the mochi. Pinch and seal the seam.
  5. Repeat the same with the rest of the mochi. (Note: Work briskly as the mochi will get less flexible as it cools.) Leave the daifuku at room temperature for an hour to set before serving. Daifuku tastes best on the day it is made. If there are any leftovers cover and store at room temperature.


  1. This is beautiful and I had tried this before when I was in Japan two years ago. Wonder where did you get the mochiko and katakuriko flour? Thanks!

  2. Looks very nice. Only 8, no wonder not enough to go round since everyone likes it. Although I love sushi, sashimi and most things japanese, but not mochi, and not even TW mochi and not even mua chee. hehe]

    Thank you for sharing what you have found out abt mochi.

  3. I like that video, I first saw that video while in search of omu rice. I've see this Ichigo Daifuku ice cream but just never make them. Just wondering if normal glutinous rice flour would work on this and can I just dust them with cornflour? I read somewhere I could, the cornflour thingy I mean.

  4. oh my !! I was JUST thinking of making this ... looks good..

  5. YUM looks positively fabulous. Yum yum yum. I definitely would like to try this sometime...

  6. wow strawberries and red bean paste must taste great!

  7. I think they look lovely. In fact, I think they look better than the ones in the video. Don't be so hard on yourself. :-)
    There's a big Asian supermarket down the street from where I live, so I might actually try this. I'm usually not fond of mochi, either, but the combination sounds somewhat intriguing. Also sounds like something my boyfriend would actually eat...he's kind of picky. Thanks for another great recipe.

  8. Hi Anncoo, I got them from Diaso.

    Hi Quinn, yes you can try with normal glutinous rice flour if you can't get the Japanese one, but maybe there will be a slight difference in taste/texture? You can also use corn flour, most recipes I came across use corn flour straight away, but there is one cookbook that requires the corn flour to be cooked before using (microwave on medium heat for 1 min, or bake in oven for 3 mins, it doesnt state the temperature though.)

    Hi Sherlyn, like you I have never really like mochi, but I was surprised that I actually like these strawberry daifuku. I made another batch the next day :D

    SweeSan, what a coincident! I am sure you have fun making them :)

    Hi Paula, the combination is great.

    Hi Clare, do try it, they taste really good!

    Hi Julia, thanks for your encouraging words :):)

  9. WOW!!! Very impressed! I would like to learn this but really have no idea how. Your experiment very successful and I must give this a try. Very very good job! You are really my "SI FU" !

  10. wow...I am impressed..this is like bought from Japan!


  11. Fatablously wrapped up.
    The mochi was layer was so thin.

    Two thumbs up!!!

  12. You got your mochiko at the Daiso? I will have to look for it the next time I'm there!

  13. HHB, your beautiful mochi is so tempting :)
    Where did you buy your red bean paste and how was the level of sweetness?
    Can i use the Pagoda brand of Potato Starch from NTUC? thks
    did u manage to go to Shermay?

  14. So pretty! Thanks for the tip, will go Daiso to buy mochiko and katakuriko flour. BTW, I made Mango Sago with Pomelo 2 weeks back and it was well received by my family. ;) Thanks for sharing another simple, yet great recipe. ;)

  15. the mochiko that you bought from Daiso, can you help me to check which is the country of manufacture? thks :)

  16. Really inspired to make this! Hope I will be fast enough to wrap it before it turns cold. May I know where you bought your red bean paste from? Thanks alot! (:


  17. HHB,great post! Thanks for all the details and information and the link to the video - that's priceless! I made this last year using Ishida Keiko's recipe (she used microwave to cook the flour)but as it was my first attempt, I was pretty much feeling the stone as I crossed the river. Your mochi looks impeccable!

  18. This is so beautiful and looks good!! Your 1st time did this, this is very impressive!! Thanks for sharing.

  19. Hi Grace, what Si Fu?! If I can be si fu, then you can be zhang men ren ;)

    Hi Irene, you are very kind :D

    wendyywy, the original recipe is meant for 6 strawberries, but I made 8, so that was probably why the mochi layer was so thin.

    Nancy, yes, I got them at the PS outlet.

    Hi May, I got the red bean paste from Phoon Huat, the sweetness is just right as the mochi is pain while the strawberries were slightly tangy. If you were to eat the red bean paste on its own, then it will taste sweet. I also use it for red bean pao and bread buns. I am sorry I not sure about using the Pagoda brand of potato starch, i think it should be ok to use? I didn't have any chance to go HV :(

    HBS, I am glad to hear that you like the mango sago dessert, I made it again two days ago :)

    Hi Anonymous, I checked the country of origin before I bought them...both are from Japan. The katakuriko is from Hokkaido.

    Hi Amanda, I got the red bean paste from Phoon Huat. It is not overly sweet, a long time back, I bought one pack of red bean paste from Daiso, it was too sweet for my liking.

    The Experimental Cook, thanks!!

  20. Wah! I think this place had become a "武侠 Wu Xia baker blog" haha.. Si Fu, let's make a kungfu cake :)

  21. What a beautiful daifuku with strawberry in the centre. Brilliant!

  22. Hello, Happy home baker. I want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. You are such an inspiration for me. This Strawberry Mochi is so cute. I am wondering if you have tried the modified mochi recipe with Agar Agar and or tapioca starch so they will keep soft?

  23. Thanks for the notes on Daifuku and the types of glutinous rice flour used. I think I told you before that your blog is really a blessing to those who love to bake and cook. Thanks for sharing so much. I remembered those days when I made those garlic buns...I am here most of the time and you are my sifu. I love your blog :)) Thanks for all the recipes you have shared here :)

  24. These look lovely! I guess I'm with you on the whole mua chee and mochi; I'm not a fan either, but the mister loves them ~haha. I might just pluck enough courage to make these, but I doubt they'll come any close to looking as pretty as yours!

  25. Seriously, I think your daifuku look good enough for me! Perfectly wrapped! I think you're too harsh on yourself ... LOL! As long as they all turned out good, it's counted as a success!

    Thanks for the pointers, too! I love that YouTube channel, too! Lots of valuable lessons on Japanese cooking!

  26. Hi Bee with Style, thanks for reading my blog :)
    Pardon my ignorant, as this is the first time I am making daifuku, using agar agar and tapioca flour to keep the mochi is something new to me! Thanks for sharing this info :D

    Hi Elin, thanks for your kind words and support! I can't cook! You are my si fu instead!

    Hi ovenheaven, I am sure you can come up with something way better than my, you have got very fine motor skills, parden me for using such a term which is meant for a little kid, somehow I always associate you as a little girl next door ;)

    Pei Lin, I like those video demo too! They are excellent for lousy cooks like me :)

  27. Dear HHB,

    I remember there was a Chilled Vitagen Yogurt Cake in your recipe earlier and have kiv to try someday but can't seem to find it now.

  28. Hi Li, are you referring to this:
    ( The original recipe can be found here:

  29. Hi HHB, I think I have said it many times already that you have a beautiful and great blog :)) sounded long winded but today I have a gift award for you, do drop by and collect it when you are free :)) Thank you so much for sharing great baking recipes :))) I am happy when I drop by everyday...your blog is my candy store haha and at my age..I need it :p

  30. Hi HBB,
    I made this last weekend but i bought the wrong type of glutinous rice flour from Daiso.
    I cannot find Mochiko and I was so smart to get a packet of Dangoko instead. I saw the word glutinous rice and also non glutinous rice(so actually is a mixture of half of these)

    The skin turned out not as chewy and soft as it should be and i was having hard time to wrap up the red bean ball coz the mochi was not flexible even at the begining stage.
    But all the 7 balls ended up into our stamach.
    The girls even asked me to do it again.

    Yesterday i went to PH to buy a packet of mochi podwer.
    Do you think it work for this recipe?


  31. Hi Wong, I was also very confused by the type of flour at Daiso! Each time I go, there is a different type, and sometimes the photo on the packaging can be quite misleading too, and I once saw they stick the wrong label (text in English) to one of the packets.
    Ok, here is one good news, I have a reader who informed me that she used this "Erawan Brand Glutinous Rice Flour" (made in Thailand) and "Pagoda" Potato Starch from NTUC to made the daifuku, and she said it works very well. I am not sure about the mochi flour from PH. I have seen this Shiratamako flour at NTUC, Bishan Junction 8 branch (see photo here:
    It is the one that Japaneses would use. However, it is quite expensive, around $6 a pack. I would only buy it if I were to make the daifuku to give away to my friends ;)

  32. Hi,
    last weekend I went to dasio I can't find the flour beside dasio where I can get the flour?


  33. Hi Lilan, I am sorry I do not whether you can get the same flour from other places. Maybe you can try Isetan supermarket or Meidi-Ya supermarket at Liang Court. I have seen Shiratamako flour at NTUC (Junction 8 outlet). Please see my reply to reader Wong above.

  34. Hi there,
    My Red bean Daifuku got harden in the refrigerator. I used glutinous rice flour and followed your recipe. Any comments, anybody?

  35. Hi there,
    My red bean mochi got harden in the refrigerator after just one night. I used glutinous rice flour and followed the recipe. Have I done anything wrong?

  36. I have used this recipe 6 times with v gd results using Erawan or United Glutinous Rice flour (both made in Thailand) and Pagoda Potato Starch (all easily available from NTUC). Just need 100ml water instead of 120ml. The dough is soft and chewy, 100x better than buying from shops. I made in the morning and keep in air-tight box at room temp. By evening mochi is still soft. Advisable to make in small quantity and finish eating within the day. Keeping in fridge and exposing to air will cause the mochi dough to dry up n become harden. Remember that since this is homemade, no preservatives etc is used unlike commercial ones which may have them to prolong the shell life.

  37. Hi Anonymous, as mentioned in my recipe, Daifuku tastes best on the day it is made. They will turn hard if kept in the fridge, especially when they are left over night. Keep in air tight container and store them at room temperature and best consume them within the day they are made.

    Hi May, thanks for sharing your experience making these daifuku :)

  38. Hi HBB,

    I just tried this recipe and love the daifuku i made!! Even though it looks really out of shape haha

    Btw, about the red bean paste bought from phoon huat. Is it sticky? Saw from cookingwithdog video when the chef was wrapping the strawberry with anko, it wasnt sticky like mine!! In the end I put some potato starch on my hand when handling it.

  39. Hi Reira, I don't find Phoon Huat's red bean paste sticky. You just need to make sure your hands are clean, pinch the required amount, knead it a bit and roll it into a round ball. I noticed that if my hands are wet or damp, the paste will stick to your fingers. Not sure whether this is the case for you?

  40. Hi Happy Home Baking,
    Really happy too to get to know this blog while surfing. I had tried the Mango Yogurt Cake for my husband birthday and it was a success. Then I started to read on long long ago blogs/recipes you had posted. To my surprise,I saw this Strawberry Mochi which I really missed so much when I tried in Hualien(Taiwan). Not long after, I bought those ingredients suggested by May. It was a total success and my colleagues n husband said its nice too :> Really enjoyed reading your blog and my baking lists still goes on everytime I see your yummy pics and recipe ....From MM.

  41. Hi MM, thanks for reading my blog :):)
    I am happy to hear that you like this must be a joy to be able to make your own mochi!

  42. Jus wondering if mochiko can b subst by glutinous rice flour? Will results b e same?

  43. Hi, I have not tried making these with normal glutinous rice flour, but one of my readers, May, did, see her comments above, she used 100ml of water.

  44. I asked cos its v difficult to find mochiko flour. I went to a few daisos, even went all the way to imm outlet but nope, dun hv. In the end I had to go meidiya n of cos it was expensive....$7 for a smmmmmallll pkt of flour. I thot will b gd if there r subst!

  45. Hi, I am very interested to try this out and already planned to buy strawberries tom. However, need your help in these questions : can I use any brand of glutinous rice flour or must I use Mochiko brand? Can I use any brand of potato flour or can I replace it with cornflour? Thanks!

  46. Hi ai li, I have not tried using other type of glutinous rice flour as such I am not able to comment. Although one reader has tried using "Erawan Brand Glutinous Rice Flour" (made in Thailand) and "Pagoda" Potato Starch to made the daifuku, and she said it works very well. I don't think you can replace potato flour with cornflour since they are different.

  47. Hi, which Daiso branch did you buy the Mochiko and Katakuriko flour from? Thanks!

  48. Hi Ai Li, I bought it from the branch at Plaza Singapura. btw, I used red bean paste from Phoon Huat.

  49. Hi, I called Plaza Sing yesterday and they told me they didn't have the flour. Yes intend to buy the red bean paste from Phoon Huat. Guess have to continue looking for the right flour before I can do this mochi as I want it as authentic as possible. Thanks so much for your help!

  50. Hi, I made this was a disaster. 1st my red bean paste did not stick around the strawberry; it kept tearing and I didn't understand why. Next, I only managed to get 6pcs of the mochi instead of 8. I had a hard time wrapping them - part of the red bean paste came off when I was pulling the mochi to wrap, the edges of the mochi cannot be sealed, the mochi skin tear and part of the strawberry was showing. It was such a mess what a contrast to what you had here. So sad!

  51. Hi ai li, I used red bean paste from phoon huat which is more firm/dry. May be your strawberries are too big? and were the strawberries very wet when you try to wrap it with red bean paste? When you try to pinch to seal, maybe you dust your fingers with too much flour? so the mochi at the seam cannot stick together? It was the first time I made these daifuku too but I followed the instructions from the video (did you watch the video?), it was tricky trying to wrap the mochi and you need to work very fast otherwise upon cooling, it will be even harder to wrap.

  52. Yes I used red bean paste from PH. I don't think its the size of the strawberries because the paste basically cannot cling on them. Maybe I didn't the berries dry enough. It was quite possible that too much potato flour on my fingers that I could not pinch to seal. Yes I watched the video and it looked really a breeze a do that was why i went ahead to do it even without the Mochiko flour..I used Erawan and Pagoda flour. Nonetheless, the texture of the mochi was great! Maybe next time, I just wrap with red bean paste will do....Thanks!!!