Kabocha Mochi Dim Sum: Crispy & Steamed


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I woke up this morning craving for some Dim Sum. My mom buys batches of savoury dim sum from a local store that hand makes them, so whenever a craving hits, it’s often a issue of taking out all our bamboo steamers and assembling an assortment of dim sum in our steamer baskets. But today, oddly enough, I felt like some sweet dim sum would add to our morning brunch, and with half a kabocha squash and some left over red bean paste in the fridge, this dim sum dessert seemed like the logical solution to my sweet dim sum craving. I confess, I am not a dim sum chef! A *good* dim sum chef is hard to come by in North America, because it takes years upon years to hone their art. But this sweet dim sum is definitely one of the entry level dim sums, and can be easily recreated in the home kitchen!

The steamed mochi is a lighter version that brings out the subtle flavours of the kabocha squash. If you’re in a hurry, they steam just as well as mochi balls vs shaping them into a pumpkin. The crispy mochi cake reminds me of a sweet version of a grilled cheese sandwich (sans grilled cheese!!), the buttery red bean filling really works quite well in the crispy version, complementing that rich crispy crust on the fried cakes. But both are absolutely delicious, and especially so when paired with a good tea! After all, dim sum is just not dim sum without tea!

So there you have it! Another Nommy Noms recipe, happy cooking!

Kabocha Mochi: Steamed Pumpkin Dim Sum & Crispy Mochi Cakes

Makes about 12-15

Ingredients:

  • 300g steamed kabocha (start with about 450g fresh kabocha, rind-on)
  • 150g glutinous rice flour (also known as: sweet rice flour or mochiko)
  • 60g sugar (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Handful of dried cranberries/raisins (for garnish)
  • Red bean paste (prepared ahead, recipe to follow)

The Fun Part:

  1. Heat water in a wok or steamer till boil. In the meantime, remove seed of kabocha and cut it into slices, rind-on, and place it on a pie plate/bowl. Cover with aluminium foil, and place inside steamer for about 20mins or until the flesh of kabocha pierces through easily with a skewer.
  2. When kabocha is done, pour out any excess water that is in the pie plate/bowl. Remove and discard rind. Weigh the steamed kabocha to make up 300grams*, then mash the kabocha. Add the sugar and salt to the kabocha mash, mix well. (The sugar should dissolve quickly in the warm kabocha mash). Add the glutinous rice flour to the kabocha mash (a third of the flour at a time).
  3. Knead for 10 minutes (or until elastic), the dough will be a bit sticky, but shouldn’t stick too much on any surface. If it’s too sticky to handle, add a bit more of the glutinous rice flour a tablespoon at a time.
  4. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes, in the meantime portion the red bean paste into little balls (about 2cm in diameter), you will have extra red bean paste left!
  5. Divide the kabocha dough into 12 pieces, flatten the dough on lightly floured hands (to about the size of your palm), then envelope the dough over the red bean ball. Roll it into a ball and set aside on a floured surface.

For steamed Kabocha Pumpkin Mochies:

  1. Use a toothpick to depress the prepared kabocha balls in order to create the sections you see on pumpkins. Add a dried cranberry on top to form the stem of the pumpkin.

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  1. Place little pumpkins mochies on a plate or bamboo basket with greased wax paper, leaving at least 1 inch space in between (pumpkins will expand a bit!). Steam for 14 minutes.
  2. When done, remove from heat, open the lid of the steamer and let the mochies breathe for a bit before serving. (This will help dry out the surface of the mochies and make it easier to transfer).

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For Crispy Kabocha Mochi Cakes:

  1. Flatten the kabocha balls to half an inch thick.
  2. Heat a skillet with oil over medium heat.
  3. Pat the kabocha cakes with cornflour/flour/glutinous flour on both sides before placing it into the hot skillet.
  4. Pan fry it for 2 minutes on each side, or until it is golden yellow.

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*Notes

1. If you don’t want to be too bogged down on measuring out 300grams of steamed kabocha, just remember to add kabocha:rice flour in a 2:1 ratio!

2. These kabocha mochies freeze quite well, to reheat them for crispy kabocha mocha cakes, heat them on low heat and cover the skillet with a lid until ready to flip. Then remove the lid and let the cake crisp up the other side on a “lidless” skillet.

Sweet Red Bean Paste

(This recipe yields double the amount needed for the Kabocha cakes, feel free to cut this recipe in half.)

Ingredients

  • 1 C Red Beans
  • 1 C sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Water
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter OR vegetable oil (butter gives it a rich accent)

The Fun Part:

  1. Rinse red beans, and place in a pot. Add water till it covers the beans an inch. Heat on high till boil, and let it boil for 5 minutes. Discard water and refill with till it covers the beans an inch.
  2. Simmer the beans on low for about 1.5 hours, stirring from time to time and adding more water as needed. Beans are ready when they are soft (can be easily squished between fingers).
  3. Once ready, drain any excess water and mash the beans (or puree them for a finer paste, I personally like it a bit less refined).
  4. Return mashed beans to the pot, add sugar and salt, and heat on medium heat, stirring frequently. This step is to remove any excess water so that the red bean can form a more cohesive “dough”. The paste is ready when it comes off clean from the pan.
  5. Add 2-3 Tbsp of butter to the paste, once incorporated, remove the paste from the heat and cover with cling film to prevent it from drying out. Allow to cool till it is cold enough to handle. If not using immediately, wrap it in cling film and place it in the fridge. The paste can keep up to 3 days in the fridge.
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