From winter to springtime, you see a lot of different fruit daifuku in Japan. It’s a delicious and healthy way to eat seasonally and enjoy the fresh fruit that becomes available. In Japan, winter is strawberry season, making it a prime ingredient for sweet dishes like this strawberry daifuku mochi. But you don’t have to be in Japan to enjoy it as it’s so easy to make at home. Just use our easy-to-follow recipe and video and your family and friends will be celebrating your skill in no time!
What Is Daifuku?
Daifuku is a popular Japanese confection (wagashi) that has a thin outer mochi stuffed with sweet fillings usually served with green tea. While the filling is often sweet red bean paste, the truth is it can be made with just about anything sweet. So we are going to use fresh delicious strawberries, because not only are they part of traditional Japanese food culture, but they are available in the U.S. and Europe as well. Strawberries are also the perfect “bite-size” to use and wrap mochi around.
Daifuku has a long history going back to the late 1500s (Muromachi era). In those days, daifuku had a round and fat shape that looked like Japanese quail bird (uzura). So people used to call it “uzura mochi.” It used to be much bigger and had a rather salty taste. Late in the Edo period, a sweeter version emerged and a shop started selling it as “daifuku mochi.” Now daifuku is an integral part of Japanese culture and traditions and is eaten all over the island, as well as many other places in the world where Japanese cuisine is popular.
Daifuku literally means “great luck” and is believed to impart good fortune to all that eat it. There are now many different types of daifuku eaten in Japan and around the world, including the ice-cream filled ones that have become popular in the U.S. Here are some other varieties for you to try to make and enjoy — remember that daifuku goes great with tea or coffee as an afternoon snack or dessert.
Mame Daifuku: Outer mochi has beans (mame) such as soybeans. There are several varieties of mame daifuku, including kuro mame daifuku, which is made with yummy black soybeans!
Yomogi Daifuku: Outer mochi is made with yomogi leaves (Japanese mugwort) and looks green. The result is a healthy Japanese recipe that also tastes great, as mugwort is good for winter conditions like coughs and colds.
Cream Daifuku: Instead of red bean paste, the inside is filled with whipped cream.
Coffee Daifuku: Coffee is mixed into the red bean paste, creating a rich and sensual treat. Yum!
Fruit Daifuku: Seasonal fruits are wrapped in red bean paste and outer mochi. Typical Japanese fruit recipes feature melon, peach, grape, chestnut, orange, and strawberry. Others variation of fruits include apple daifuku.
- A hint of soy sauce makes this sweet red bean paste taste much better.
- You can use plastic wraps to form daifuku if you don’t want to touch them with bare hands.
- Mochi is made in the microwave, so this recipe is easy to make.
Strawberry Daifuku Mochi
- ½ cup Shiratama Powder
- 1 Tbsp Katakuri Powder
- ¼ cup Sugar
- ½ cup Water
- In a small bowl, mix soy sauce and the red bean paste and split into 8 parts.
- Remove the stalk from the strawberries and cover them with the bean paste. Set them aside.
- Mix shiratama powder and 1 tablespoon of Katakuri powder in a microwavable bowl. Slowly add water while mixing, making a smooth mixture. Add sugar and mix.
- Cover the bowl with cling wrap and microwave for 1.5 minutes.
- Take the bowl out from the microwave and mix well using a rubber spatula. Place the cling wrap again and microwave for an additional 1.5 minutes.
- Spread plenty of katakuri powder onto a working surface. Place mochi mixture on the powder and sprinkle plenty of katakuri powder on top as well.
- Press mochi with your hands (be careful it can be hot!) and spread to about 4 x 8-inch rectangle shape.
- Cut mochi into 8 parts.
- Wrap around the strawberries covered with red bean paste with mochi.