By Request
Betty Shimabukuro

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Jell-O makes quick
work of mochi

Chef Alan Wong once told me about "back-pocket" dishes -- specialties he could whip out at a moment's notice. It would be as though he were pulling them out of his back pocket.

I've decided to make today's recipe my back-pocket dish. It has only five ingredients, so it's easy to memorize and the only technique needed is "stir." Plus it cooks up in less than 10 minutes, in the microwave, no less.

It's a measure of the difference between Wong's skills and mine that his back-pocket dish involved seared scallops with an edamame purée and mine is Jell-O mochi.

Stick with what you know, I always say.

Anyway, Gail Kawasaki lost her copy of this simple mochi recipe and sought a replacement. So here, put this in your back pocket, Gail:

Microwave Jell-O Mochi

1 3-ounce package gelatin, any flavor
1 cup sugar
2 cups mochiko (Japanese sweetened rice flour)
2 cups cold water
Potato starch or cornstarch, for dusting

Grease a microwave-safe 9-inch square pan.

Combine all ingredients. Stir until smooth and pour into pan.

Microwave on high 6 minutes. Mochi will be firm around the sides, but soft in the center. Stir (it's OK if the surface is no longer smooth). Microwave 2 minutes longer.

Cool, then cut with a plastic knife. Coat pieces in potato starch. Because of the mid-cooking stir, the mochi will not be perfectly smooth, but you can smooth out each piece as you roll it in starch.

For those who are microwave-deprived, here's a version that goes in the oven. It's more involved, though, so it may not be a fit for your back pocket.

Jell-O Mochi

"Hawai'i's Best Mochi Recipes" by June Watanabe Hee (Mutual Publishing, 2000, )

4 cups mochiko
2 3-ounce packages gelatin, any flavor
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 12-ounce cans soda, in same flavor as gelatin, unchilled
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
Potato starch, for dusting

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

Combine mochiko, gelatin, sugar and baking powder. Stir in soda, eggs and butter. Mix well. Bake 1 hour.

Cool; cut with plastic knife. Roll pieces in potato starch.

Nutritional information unavailable

Can you help?

Shirley Okamoto is looking for the recipe for beef curry that was served in the H&R Cafeteria in the '70s and '80s. "This cafeteria was located on the ewa end of Ualena Street in the airport industrial area. They made the most delicious beef curry ever."

If you have a line on the recipe or perhaps one of the cafeteria's cooks, please get in touch.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to bshimabukuro@starbulletin.com

E-mail to Features Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://archives.starbulletin.com