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Herb Mochi (Kusamochi)

1 2/3 cups shiratamako (non-glutinous white rice flour)
1 cup water
2 cups curly chicory, green parts of leaves only

Parboil chicory 10-20 seconds in lightly salted water and plunge
into cold water.

Add water to shiratamako a little at a time, mixing and kneading
with your hand to make a smooth mixture. The aim is a mixture that
is firm, smooth, and soft--like your earlobe, as the Japanese say.
Be careful when adding water--toward the end, a little goes a long
way. A Tbsp or 2 more than 1 cup may be necessary.

Line steamer with a clean kitchen towel or 2 layers of cheesecloth,
then place it on medium-high heat.

Break shiratamako mixture into 1 1/2-inch (4cm) rough lumps and
place lumps in hot steamer. Cover with ends of cloth and steam
10-15 minutes, until soft throughout. The steaming transforms the
shiratamako mixture into a form of mochi(glutinous rice) cake.

While steaming, finely chop parboiled chicory and then grind in a
suribachi grinding bowl or mortar (or use processor to cut it very
finely, but do not puree).

Add steamed mochi to suribachi and mix with pestle until chopped
green is evenly distributed in the tacky mass (or use a processor
for this, working carefully).

Dredge [sprinkle or sift] a working surface (or baking pan) generously
with cornstarch, place green mochi on cornstarch, and dredge entire
mochi surface. Shape either into a single flat rectangle or small
rounds, as you like.

Eat immediately with sweet asuki bean paste (anko), soy powder
(kinako), yuzu citron and sweet miso, jam, marmalade, or whatever
you like. This can also be toasted just like mochi. Keeps 2-3


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