A popular Japanese sweet, Daifuku is a small round mochi stuffed with sweet red bean paste. This recipe shows how you can make this delicious snack at home with quick steam over the stovetop or in the microwave.
Daifuku (大福) or Daifuku Mochi (大福餅) is a type of wagashi (和菓子), Japanese sweets. It’s a small round mochi stuffed with anko (sweetened red bean paste) made from azuki beans. Daifuku is a popular Japanese snack and usually served with green tea.
Watch How to Make Daifuku Mochi
Sweet red bean paste (anko) wrapped around with a thin soft mochi shell. You can quickly steam mochi on stovetop or in the microwave.
I’ve previously shared Strawberry Daifuku recipe on Just One Cookbook, which includes a whole strawberry inside a mochi surrounded by anko filling. While strawberry daifuku is seasonal and available during the springtime, daifuku is available all year around at Japanese confectionery stores and supermarkets.
Mochi is made of short-grain japonica glutinous rice (mochigome). Traditionally, mochi is made through a labor-intensive method. The glutinous rice is cooked and pounded with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu). We call this mochi-pounding process “mochitsuki (餅つき)”. Then mochi is then formed into round or rectangular shape.
Since it takes quite a bit of time to make mochi from scratch (oh but freshly made mochi does taste amazing!), so we can also make mochi with shiratamako or mochiko (glutinous rice/sweet rice flour). The flour is mixed with water and steamed either on the stovetop or in the microwave. With this quick method, sticky tasty mochi is ready in no time. Today I will show you how to make mochi with these quick methods.
Daifuku is most commonly filled with red bean paste, but some are filled with white bean paste (Shiroan, 白餡). There is also mochi which is colored and flavored with kinako (soybean flour), yomogi (Japanese mugwort), matcha green tea powder, or a touch of red food coloring.
Red bean filling has usually two types: koshian (fine texture) and tsubuan (coarse texture). Personally, I prefer tsubuan with its coarse texture and azuki bean skin still kept in the paste, but it’s up to you which red bean paste you prefer as filling. Homemade red bean paste tastes much better (recipe here), but if you like to save time, purchase premade red bean paste from a Japanese supermarket.
If you are interested in learning about wagashi, check out Wagashi Guide: History of Japanese Confectioneries.
- ¾ cup shiratamako (glutinous rice flour/sweet rice flour)
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup sugar (do not omit sugar as it helps mochi stay softer)
- ½ cup potato starch/cornstarch
- 1 ½ cup red bean paste (anko) (I use “tsubuan” a chunky paste; for my homemade recipe, click here.)
Substitute for shiratamako:
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Combine shiratamako and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk all together.
- Add water and mix well until combined.
- Microwave Method: If you’re using a microwave to cook mochi, cover the bowl with some plastic wrap (do not cover too tight). Put the bowl in the microwave and heat it on high heat (1100w) for 1 minute. Take it out and stir with wet rubber spatula. Cover again and cook for 1 minute. Stir again, cover, and cook for 30 seconds to finish cooking. The color of mochi should change from white to almost translucent.
- Steaming Method: If you’re using a steamer, cover the steamer lid with a towel so the condensation won’t drop into the mochi mixture. Put the bowl into a steamer basket and cover to cook for 15 minutes. Halfway cooking, stir with a wet rubber spatula and cover to finish cooking. The color of mochi should change from white to almost translucent.
- Cover the work surface with parchment paper and dust it generously with potato starch. Then transfer the cooked mochi on top.
- To prevent from sticking, sprinkle more potato starch on top of the mochi. Once it’s cool down a bit, you can spread the mochi into a thin layer with your hands or with a rolling pin. Make sure to apply potato starch on your hands and the rolling pin. I recommend using a rolling pin because it’s easier to evenly spread out.
- Transfer the mochi with parchment paper onto a large baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes (no more than that) until the mochi is set.
- Take out the mochi from the refrigerator and cut out 7-8 circles with the 3.5 inch (9 cm) cookie cutter.
- Dust off the excess potato starch with a pastry brush. If you find some sticky part, cover the area with potato starch first then dust off. Place a plastic wrap on a plate and then mochi wrapper on top, then lay another layer of plastic wrapper down. Repeat for all wrappers. With leftover mochi dough, roll into a ball and then flatten into a thin layer again and cut out into more circle wrappers (I could make about 12 mochi wrappers).
- Now we’re ready to make daifuku mochi. On the work surface, place one sheet of plastic wrap with a mochi layer on top. Using the cookie scoop, scoop out anko on top of the mochi wrapper.
- Pinch the four corners of the mochi layer together to wrap the anko. Then pinch the remaining corners together.
- Put some potato starch on the sealed area and set aside. Continue making the rest of daifuku mochi.
- Keep the daifuku mochi in an airtight container and store at a cool dry place. Enjoy within 2 days. For summer months when it's very hot, you may want to refrigerate; however, rice gets hard in the refrigerator so you need to wrap the container with a thick kitchen towel to keep it cool but not cold.