Look at these delicious round mounds of sweetness that look like soft, spongy pillows. This recipe belongs to my Auntie and comes all the way from down under. It was kindly shared with me via my cousin Bic, whom is one of my closest cousins. She’s one of my few cousins who I keep in regular contact with and when she spoke so enthusiastically about these mochi balls that her mum made, it took me back to my childhood. I had to make them for myself.
All my Aunties are so very good at cooking and in particular making traditional desserts. The ones that you ate as a kid and didn't appreciate the effort that went into making them. The ones that take time and skill, using a family recipe that was handed down from their mother. They have this knack for perfecting the desserts, which comes from years and years of practice. Sadly, these recipes are on the brink of extinction because my generation have not bothered to learn them. We have taken it for granted that our mums and aunties will be always be there.
I was reminded of childhood memories where my Aunties would get together to cook and chat. It was the constant, incessant chatting that I remember the most. I don't recall what they spoke of exactly but I was amazed at how much talking they did. What on earth could they talk about for hours on end? As an adult, I realised that this act of cooking together had a far deeper meaning. The kitchen was the women's domain. It was something they did together, a bonding session, a reason to socialise and have endless conversation away from their husbands.
Making these sweet Asian desserts and documenting them here is a start to preserving my family recipes. A lot of the times, you will find them filled with a red bean paste like this recipe but what I like about my Auntie's recipe is that the filling has texture, and you get a hit of sweetness and saltiness when you bite into them.
Thank you Bic and Auntie for sharing this recipe!
Makes 20 balls
FOR THE GLUTINOUS RICE SHELL
1 cup glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/3 cup water
Corn starch for dusting
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
FOR THE FILLING
1/2 cup sesame seeds roasted
1/2 cup peanuts roasted and crushed
2 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp coconut cream
To make the filling, roast the peanuts and use a mortar and pestle to crush the peanuts. You want a mixture of small and larger peanuts for texture. Next roast the sesame seeds. Combine the peanuts, sesame seeds, sugar, salt and coconut cream in a mixing bowl. Divide this mixture into 20 balls and set aside.
Mix the glutinous rice flour and water in a mixing bowl until dissolved. Pour the mixture through a sieve over a pot. Then add the sugar to the pot and on medium heat, continuously stir the mixture for approximately 3 minutes until you achieve a very sticky dough ball.
Place the desiccated coconut on a plate. Lay parchment paper on a board and sprinkle generously with corn starch. Tip out the dough ball onto the board and allow to cool slightly before sprinkling with more corn starch and cutting into 20 pieces.
Dust your hands with corn starch before handling the sticky dough. Roll each piece into a flattened circle with your hands. The dough should be soft and mailable. Place a ball of the filling in the centre and pull the sides up and over the filling, pinching and twisting it to seal the dough. Then roll the ball in the desiccated coconut and reshape the ball if you need to. If you find that your are hands feeling sticky, just dust again with corn starch. Repeat this for the remainder of the dough.