Cocoa Mochi | Happy Lunar New Year!


It's funny how a food craving can strike at any moment - a lot of times, I'm in the kitchen baking or cooking because of a craving. That was the case with these cocoa mochi - although, these weren't exactly what triggered the desire for that something chewy. It was these rice dumplings in pumpkin porridge that really got me hankering for the traditional Chinese dessert usually served around the new year (during the Lantern Festival), family gatherings and special occasions, called tang yuan. My favorite are the dumplings filled with sweetened black sesame paste, especially when it's piping hot. 


Given the fact that it was late in the evening and I didn't have black sesame, I had to come up with another solution to satisfy this craving. I surveyed my pantry and found one last box of Mochiko sweet rice flour from that time I was obsessed with mochi cake, and quickly remembered there was a recipe for cocoa mochi on the box. It was definitely not even close to what I was yearning for but it was the chewy, gooey-ness that I sought after so, it would do. I could have just made regular mochi, but why not kill two birds with one stone and make something new for the blog while I'm at it? Actually, it was more like three birds since I'm thinking this will also pass as dessert for my family's Chinese New Year dinner tonight! 


What's even funnier is that in the process of making this mochi, my craving subsided. Which, worked out for the best as these were much tastier after chilling overnight in the fridge. If you try a piece right away, you'll mostly taste the rice flour and miss the extra dusting of cocoa powder that makes this simple mochi a crave-worthy treat. 

I wish everyone who is celebrating, a Happy and Blessed Chinese (Lunar) New Year! 
新年快樂! 
It's the Year of the Horse, which is the year I was born in so...shout-out to all the other horses out there! ;) 
(ps. I really have no idea what it means to be a "horse"...)

Cocoa Mochi 
Use a good quality dark (or dutch-processed) cocoa powder as it is the star ingredient (besides the sweet rice flour). For making the mochi, use a large bowl but not too large that it won't fit in the microwave (I may or may not have first-hand experience with this) - a glass Pyrex bowl works well. 

Yield: a whole lot of mochi, about 50 1-inch squares

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened dark or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
1 cup water
1 box (16 oz) Mochiko sweet rice flour
3 cups water
Extra cocoa powder for dusting, about 1/4 cup

Directions:

Grease a 13"x9" pan, set aside.

In a saucepan, whisk together sugar, coffee and cocoa powders. Stir in 1 cup water, and heat on stove until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

In a large, microwave-proof bowl, stir together the rice flour and 3 cups water. Cover and microwave 5 minutes on high power. Remove, and mix thoroughly. Return to microwave uncovered and cook an additional 5 minutes. Gradually stir cocoa syrup into heated mochi and carefully incorporate until well-combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Let cool slightly, then refrigerate overnight.

Dust cocoa powder on top of the mochi and turn out onto a cutting board or large baking sheet dusted with cocoa. You may have to gently pull the mochi free from the sides of the pan. Cut mochi into small squares, and roll completely in cocoa powder. Store in airtight container & refrigerate.

Source: Adapted from recipe found on box of Koda Farms Mochiko sweet rice flour

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