In Which We Get the Lunar New Year Off to a Sweet Start…

Caramel, mochi... Looks like a plan...

Tikoy – also known as nian gao – that deliciously chewy glutinous rice cake usually appears on local tables towards the end of January and the start of February for the celebration of the Lunar New Year.

Normally, tikoy is sliced, dipped in egg-wash, deep-fried, and served for breakfast.  (With tea, presumably.)  Sometimes, though, it’s sold as a batch of tiny sticky rolls filled with either sweetened mung bean or peanut paste.  This year, however, I felt like doing something completely different to get the Year of the Metal Rabbit – so I whipped up a batch of my rum-infused mochi dough and did just that.

Have one? Have the whole tub!

These are my butterscotch daifuku, scrummy balls of glutinous rice dough filled with a rich caramel custard.  I think that these sticky, chewy, rich-tasting little bites are guaranteed to make good luck stick to you like glue and sweeten your fortune for the rest of the year.  These would be perfect for giving away as gifts, but I’m pretty sure some of you would like to enjoy these in a more selfish manner.  :p

Butterscotch Daifuku

For the butterscotch:

  • 15 – 20 pieces caramel candy
  • 250 mL all-purpose cream
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 egg yolk, whisked

For the mochi:

  • 2 cups glutinous rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum + enough water to yield 1-1/3 cups liquid
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • additional rice flour or cornstarch for dusting

To make the butterscotch, put the caramels, cream, and butter in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.  Cook until the butter and caramels have all melted and the mixture is smooth.  Ladle about 1/4 cup of the caramel cream into the whisked egg yolk.  Whisk briskly, then add to the rest of the caramel cream and stir until well-combined.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.  Pour into a freezer-safe container, cover, and freeze until needed.

Start on the mochi by whisking together all the ingredients save the flour for dusting in a saucepan until well combined.  Cook over medium heat whilst stirring until the mixture is thick and viscous.  Allow to cool for a bit, then put the mixture into a heatproof bowl with a wet silicon spatula.  Cover with aluminum foil and place in a steamer.  Cook the dough for an additional twenty minutes.

Remove the dough from the steamer and carefully ease it onto a cookie sheet dusted over with rice flour; use a wet silicon spatula to help it out of the bowl.  Dust the hot dough with rice flour and carefully flatten it down with your palms.  Cut into forty (40) pieces.

Make the daifuku by flattening each piece between your palms.  Place about 1/4 teaspoon of the frozen butterscotch cream in the middle of each disk, bring the edges together, and pinch to seal.  Repeat with the remaining dough and butterscotch.  Place in a covered dish and chill until ready to serve.

Makes 40.

Incidentally… This recipe makes more butterscotch than necessary, but that’s all right.  Keep it in the fridge or freezer and, when you feel like having caramel sauce, heat 1/4 cup of the caramel in the microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds to a minute.  Poured over vanilla or dark chocolate ice cream, it is sheer perfection.