Kuzumochi, a cool sweet summer dessert

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I wrote about the use of kuzu powder in the _goma dofu_ (sesame tofu) recipe. This time it's a very traditional, simple sweet dish using kuzu.

Kuzumochi are sticky 'mochi' cakes made with just kuzu powder, sugar and water. The texture is somewhere in between gelatin and mochi made from rice flour - wobbly but not too sticky. It's traditionally served chilled, so it makes an interesting, gluten free (and vegan) summer dessert.

Recipe: Kuzumochi

  • 100g (3 1/2 oz.) kuzu powder (you really can't substitute anything else here, e.g. arrowroot or cornstarch - neither have enough body)
  • 50g (1 3/4 oz.) white sugar
  • 500ml (2 1/2 cups + 2 Tbs.) water

Mix together all the ingredients in a small pan. It starts out as an opaque white liquid.

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Heat over medium-low heat, stirring consistently. As it heats up, it will start to clump up. Keep stirring.

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It will get more translucent and clumpy. Keep stirring quite vigorously.

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When it turns transclucent all over and quite thick, and clears the bottom of the pan, it's done.

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Wet the inside of a square container, and pour in the goo. Smooth out the top as well as you can with a wet spatula. It will be quite clear when hot, but will get more cloudy white as it cools. Let it cool down to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least an hour, or until completely cold.

Take it out of the container (it will slip out easily) and cut into cubes.

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The traditional way to serve kuzumochi is with plenty of molasses or black sugar syrup and kinako, toasted and ground soybean powder, as in the top photo. I like it with lots of kinako. (If you don't have molasses, dissolve 1 cup of dark brown sugar in 1/2 cup of water.)

Since the kuzumochi is mildly sweet and quite bland, you can try all kinds of toppings. Try some fruit preserves, fresh fruit with honey or syrup, even condensed milk and strawberries.

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