The salt makes these dumplings not so sweet. The sweet an (azuki bean paste) and the salt go perfectly together. Wagashi, traditional Japanese sweets, are surprisingly easy to make. They're really popular as gifts! They're still nice and soft the next day, of course.
Divide the anko into 20 g portions (this amount is easy to wrap). It'll get your hands messy, so use a spoon. Refrigerate until use.
Put the ◆ ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl (I used a white container, so it might be a bit difficult to tell what's going on). Add water, and mix until there are no lumps and it's smooth.
Microwave for 1 minute 40 seconds at 600 Q. Take it out, and mix carefully with a moistened spatula. Microwave for another 40 seconds at 600 W.
Take it out of the microwave, and mix again with a spatula. When the dough is shiny, place it on a plastic wrap-lined work surface dusted with katakuriko.
Dust the top of the mochi with more katakuriko (the dough will be very hot, so be careful). Spread out the dough, and divide into 9 portions.
Mix the black beans into each ball of dough. Flatten the dough into circles, and wrap around the bean paste balls If the dough is sticky, dust with katakuriko.
Dust off the excess katakuriko with a pastry brush, and the dumplings are done.
Pack into a box to make a gift anyone would appreciate.
I used this brand of anko and black beans. The anko (on the right) is from a 100 yen shop. The black beans (left) are actually red 'kanoko' beans.
Story Behind this Recipe
I love traditional Japanese sweets but I don't like that anko is always so sweet. I wanted to make not-so-sweet daifuku dumplings, so I referred to recipes in magazines, and adapted them to use ingredients I had on hand.
The mochi dough will be very hot, so be careful with it. It won't harden when it cools, but it will be harder to wrap around the bean paste, so I think it's better to work quickly with it. It's much easier to wrap the dumplings if you don't put in too much bean paste! Put as many black beans as you like, but I used about 8 per dumpling. I recommend using small beans. If the dough sticks, be brave and use a ton of katakuriko.