Thursday, July 29, 2010

beko mochi

Beko mochi is a simple sweet that was common in Hokkaido when I was a child. Families would make it at home using small wooden molds that might have been passed down for generations. It consists of little more than a steamed dough of two kinds of rice flour sweetened with sugar (white sugar for the white dough; dark brown sugar for the brown dough). It contains no an, and no flavoring other than the sugar.

The Hokkaido version of beko mochi is almost always shaped like a leaf-- part white and part brown. City folk sometimes purchase them from wagashi shops-- more for their nostalgia value than for the flavor or appearance. But in the countryside, grandmas still follow the multi-step procedure of kneading two kinds of rice flour (glutinous and non-glutinous), steaming the dough, kneading again, pressing it into molds, and steaming it again.

I was taught to make beko mochi years ago, when I was working for a small coastal town in southern Hokkaido with a population of 2700. The town's one and only hardware store sold several different kinds of roughly carved wooden molds that charmed me so much, I bought one of each before I even knew what they were for. I haven't made beko mochi since then, and had no real desire to do so, but recently I came across a boxed beko mochi mix that came with its own plastic leaf mold. I bought it with the full intention of making a batch for this blog.... but I never got around to it. Sorry. (Blame this monstrously hot summer.)

So the photos I've posted are of store-bought beko mochi, and the store-bought beko mochi mix. :D