Wash the strawberries and remove the stems. Leave 4 whole and cut the other 4 into small pieces.
Mash the strawberry pieces with a fork and strain to separate the juice.
Add water to the strawberry juice until you have about 75 ml worth of liquid.
Mix the anko with the crushed strawberries and heat in a pan to reduce the liquid (this will make the filling firmer and easier to shape).
When the filling has cooled, separate into 4 balls.
Combine the shiratamako and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and gradually stir in the strawberry water from Step 3 with a wooden spatula or rice ladle.
When it's smooth, lightly cover with cling wrap and microwave for 1 minute at 500 W.
After microwaving, remove and mix well. Cover again and microwave for 1 more minute. Repeat this twice (3 minutes in total).
After the third time, it should firm up like the picture above, so mix well until it's one big lump, sprinkle katakuriko, and transfer to a pan or plate.
Coat your hand with katakuriko and separate the dough into 4 portions. Flatten each in the palm of your hand, add a chunk of anko filling and a strawberry, fold the dough, and it's done!
If you line them up, they look a bit like Little Red Riding Hood looking at a distance. These would be perfect for Girl's Day as well!
If you don't add strawberry to the dough or filling, you can make an even easier version. (See Recipe ID: 1018452).
Story Behind this Recipe
Regular strawberry daifuku are kind of boring, so I came up with this. I added strawberries to both the dough and the filling, and rather than making traditional manju, I arranged it like a sandwich. They turned out pretty cute!
The firmness of the dough will vary depending on what type of shiratamako you use, so microwave for longer if your dough is still soft. Another point is to not use too much katakuriko when assembling. They don't harden over time, so they're great to bring as gifts. They look cute lined up in a box!