Daifuku, also known as mochi in the United States, is one of the most popular wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) that consist of a soft, chewy outer layer made from sweet rice flour with a sweet red bean filling called anko. While traditionally vegan, daifuku can be very high in sugar. This recipe cuts out the refined sugar by swapping in coconut sugar and dates — but they still taste just as delicious, especially when paired with matcha green tea!
NATURALLY SWEET RED BEAN DAIFUKU [VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE]
FOR THE DOUGH:
1 cup sweet rice flour (mochiko)
1 cup water
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
2-3 tablespoons tapioca flour (0r potato or corn starch)
Red bean paste (recipe below)
FOR THE SWEET RED BEAN PASTE:
1 cup adzuki beans
1 cup pitted deglet noor dates, packed
2-4 tablespoons coconut nectar or maple syrup (sweeten to taste)
Cooking liquid, if needed to blend (2 tablespoons at a time)
TO MAKE THE DOUGH:
Prepare your cutting board by dusting the center of it with at least 2 tablespoons of tapioca starch. Keep more handy for later.
Mix the sweet rice flour, water, and coconut sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl, being sure to smooth the surface of the mixture. Place a plate over to create a safe lid, then microwave on high for 3 minutes 30 seconds.
Turn the mochi onto your prepared cutting board using a spoon. Be careful, it’s hot!
Dust your hands with starch and flip the mochi over, coating it with starch on both sides. Add more starch as needed to prevent sticking.
Take 2-tablespoon servings of mochi at a time and flatten out to a circle. Place 1 tablespoon red bean paste in the center.
To seal, pinch the mochi over the red bean paste until completely covered, then flip over and set on the cutting board or a lined baking sheet with the pinched edges hidden underneath. You can dust with more tapioca starch if needed to cover sticky areas, then repeat until all the mochi and red bean paste is used.
TO MAKE THE SWEET RED BEAN PASTE:
Soak the adzuki beans overnight (8-12 hours), being sure to keep in mind they will double or triple in size.
Drain and rinse adzuki beans, then put them in a large pot, keeping in mind the beans will expand during cooking. Add water 1 inch above the beans and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute then drain the beans.
Put the beans back in the pot and add more water until it is 1-2 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to medium-low. Let simmer for at least one hour, adding water as needed to prevent burning.
Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid in a separate bowl, then place into a food processor with the dates, and coconut nectar. You may have to do this in 2 batches, and you can add more of the cooking liquid if it needs it, but only add 2 tablespoons at a time.
Run food processor until smooth and adjust sweetness as desired.