Update 12/14: Recipe Instructions slightly updated
Mochi Red Bean Ice Cream Dumplings
Makes 24 mini dumplings
Mochi (chewy soft rice dough) is fun and easy to make at home with the help of a microwave! Use it wrap around ice cream, and you have one of my favorite ice cream treats in the palm of your hand.
Red bean is as endearing as chocolate in the Asian-flavored ice cream world, and since I have yet to see a commercially-made vegan red bean ice cream I had to make red bean ice cream mochi at home. Using one of the excellent coconut-based ice creams blended with purchased sweetened red beans (easy to find anywhere you find the mochiko flour), makes some kick ass ice cream. As of this writing, there are several vegan ice cream manufactures in the U.S. Who make pretty decent green tea ice cream, but it’s easy enough to make your own by blending a little green tea matcha powder into good quality vanilla ice cream. Or take it easy and directly scoop into the cupcake pans any flavor directly out of the pint: chocolate, coconut, strawberry or mango…you go!
Tip: If you use ice cream directly out of the pint and your kitchen is very cool (low 60 or colder), make well packed scoop of ice cream, place on a small cookie sheet lined with wax paper and freeze until hard. I found that with re-freezing ice cream (once it’s been softened and mixed with stuff) it’s often best to use the cupcake pan method to avoid the extra freezing and scooping step.
Please note that this mochi must be cooked in the microwave in order to get the right consistency. Cooking on the stovetop won’t work in this instance.
Ingredient tip: Look for canned sweetened red adzuki beans and mochiko flour at pan Asian, Japanese or Korean grocery stores. Purchase a 14 ounce can for this recipe: you’ll have a little extra bean paste, but you’ll also most likely have extra mochi as well. Which is ideal for making little red bean mochi dumplings: just plop 2 teaspoons of paste into extra mochi wrapper, fold and press together. Store tightly covered and chilled until ready to nibble on with a cup of green tea.
Red bean vegan ice cream
- 1 pint vegan vanilla ice cream (preferably coconut-based), slightly softened
- 1/2 cup mashed sweetened adzuki beans
- 1 1/4 cups glutinous-rice flour (mochiko flour)
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla, coconut or almond extract
- Pinch salt
- 1/4 cup or more cornstarch for dusting
- 1/4 cup mashed sweetened adzuki beans
1. Line the 24 cups of a metal mini cupcake pan with plenty of plastic wrap; use several pieces, enough to easily press the plastic loosely into each of the cups. If you have a silicon cupcake pan use that instead but don’t line with plastic wrap; the ice cream will pop out without the help of the wrap.
2. Empty the softened ice cream into a mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to thoroughly mix the beans into the softened ice cream. The ice cream will rapidly begin to melt, so work quickly. Use the rubber spatula to fill to the top of each cup in the cupcake pan, then cover with plastic wrap. Freeze the pan until the ice cream is completely solid, at least 1 hour or overnight.
3. To make the mochi wrappers, stir the water and sugar together in a 1 quart glass bowl until mostly dissolved. Stir in the mochiko flour, flavor extract, salt and adzuki beans if using; stir into a soft paste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes on high heat. Remove the plastic wrap; the dough will be thick and sticky. Use a rubber spatula to vigorously stir for about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for another 1 minute on high. The dough should now be very stiff and thick; if not cover and microwave for another 20 to 30 seconds. Remove plastic and give the dough another vigorously stir for about 20 seconds. The dough will look impossibly thick and gummy, but that’s okay!
4. Generously dust a work surface with cornstarch. Scoop the hot mochi dough onto the cornstarch, dip your fingers in cornstarch and press and stretch mochi into an oblong shape. If the mochi is too hot to handle let cool for a minute, but try to work the mochi as warm as possible for best results. You may want to flip the mochi a few times and sprinkled the other side with cornstarch to prevent any sticking. When you’ve stretched it as thin as you can without tearing is, use a rolling pin dusted with cornstarch to roll it even thinner, a little less than 1/4 inch. If the the mochi starts to stick anywhere dust it immediately with cornstarch.
5. Use a 3 1/4 inch round cookie cutter and cut out 24 circles; you can also roll out the dough scrapes one more time to cut out more circles. I found that after one re-roll the mochi is usually too dry to successfully roll another time. Remove the ice cream from the freezer, uncover and pull out the plastic to remove the ice cream. To assemble a mochi dumpling, place a firm ice cream mound, rounded side down, in the center of a warm mochi wrapper. Quickly fold the edges over the flat bottom end of the ice cream, pressing together the edges to seal. Set the mochi seal side down on a tray lined with plastic or waxed paper. If the unwrapped ice cream starts to get melty, put half of the ice cream in the freezer while you make the first batch of mochi dumplings.
6. Cover the mochi ice cream in the tray with plastic wrap. Return to the freezer and freeze until solid. Ice cream mochi dumplings are best served slightly thawed, about 1 to 2 minutes out of the freezer. Store frozen in tightly covered containers or zip top plastic bags.
For green tea ice cream (if you can’t find a vegan one), stir 1 to 3 teaspoons of unsweetened matcha green tea powder into the softened ice cream.
Or use any purchased (or homemade) flavor vegan ice cream to fill your mochies. Chocolate, strawberry, mango and coconut are all traditional but that shouldn’t stop you from using peanut butter chocolate or chocolate chip pomegranate in your mochi.
For flavored mochi wrappers, stir into the mochiko flour ONE of the following:
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened matcha green tea powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder plus and additional 2 tablespoons of sugar (in addition to the 1/3 cup)
A few drops of beet or carrot juice for pink or pale orange mochi!