Mmmm…Mochi….

Mochi is a sweet red bean Japanese treat.

Mochi is a sweet red bean Japanese treat.


A few years ago I was looking for a good source for red bean paste, which I use for making Chinese red bean bao and Sesame balls. I had the good fortune to find Pacific Mercantile Company, which is an online Asian grocery store specializing in Japanese food. As it turns out, they carry fabulous mochi, mochi that even my Japanese mother-in-law loves!!!
Mochi is a traditional Japanese hand held treat. It is made with glutinous (sticky rice) on the outside, and sweetened red bean paste on the inside. It makes for a sweet (but not too sweet) treat with a coolness to it and a nice texture.
Mochi are ornate in their simpleness. They are colored white, red, or green on the outside.
Although I haven’t done this yet, I have often thought about setting mochi out at parties as a petit-four kind of treat.
Here is a link to some of Pacific Mercantile’s mochi. They have a lot more, but these are probably my favorite.
http://www.pacificeastwest.com
It should also be noted that Pacific Mercantile does a great job with their packaging. Everything I have ever ordered has arrived in perfect condition. The service is amazing.

**October is Down syndrome awareness month!***

What is that?

Thai Sticky Rice Steamer

Thai Sticky Rice Steamer

I’ve taught Asian cooking classes for adults, college students, and high schoolers, and the first question is always the same. “What is that?” they ask, pointing to my sticky rice steamer. I don’t blame them- it admittedly looks very odd. Skepticism quickly turns to reverence, however, after I use it to make sticky rice for the class. I don’t think I’ve had anyone dislike sticky rice yet… and I’ve served it to dozens of people. But then what’s not to like? It’s a cool, light dessert with a mild coconut flavor.

“Sticky rice” can sometimes be labeled as “glutinous rice” or “sweet rice”. Regular white rice is not the same thing. You can find sticky rice in long grain and short grain versions. Personally, I prefer the long grain.

Sticky rice is easy to make, despite the unapproachable-looking contraption you use to make it. The only “trick” to Thai sticky rice is that it requires a little planning to make. Before you can steam the rice in the steamer, the sticky rice needs to soak in water, covered, for minimum of 5 hours, or preferrably overnight. Once soaked, simply drain, pour the sticky rice into a cheesecloth-lined sticky rice steamer (lining with cheesecloth keeps the steamer “hat” clean”), and cover with clean kitchen towels. Total steaming time is 20-22 minutes, with bringing the bottom rice to the top with a wooden spoon halfway through steaming. After the sticky rice has steamed, it is poured into a waiting mixture of sugar, salt, and coconut cream. After only a few minutes to cool, it is ready to serve! (Or it can wait, at room temperature, to be served for a day or two.)

One important sticky rice tip: never put steamed sticky rice in the refrigerator. It will harden into a brick with no hope of returning to an edible state. Instead, cover and leave at room temperature for up to 2 days before discarding. (If it makes it that long!)

I have found www.importfood.com to be an excellent source for Thai sticky rice, the steamer, and everything you need to make Thai sticky rice. In fact, they have a “Sticky Rice Starter Kit” for around $26.00 that includes the steamer, a bag of sticky rice, and cheesecloth.

There is a recipe for Thai sticky rice in my cookbook, “Introduction to Asian Cooking”.

It’s Finally Here!!!

The Cover of "Gifts 2: How People with Down Syndrome Enrich the World"

I'm thrilled to announce that the much anticipated book, "Gifts 2: How People with Down Syndrome Enrich the World", has been released! I'm also excited to announce that you'll find my essay, "They Changed the World", on page 240. It is about my nephew Matthew, who, in addition to having a big smile, a fun laugh, and a precious heart full of loving energy, also happens to have Down syndrome.

I am excited to be a part of this wonderful book. Proceeds of the book are going towards distributing a pamphlet written by Kathryn Soper for new parents of babies with Down syndrome. “Gifts 2” is available from Woodbine House Publishing and at http://www.amazon.com.

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