The famouse Japanese sweet dumpling, 'Daifuku' is similar to our Thai rice ball, a sweet filling contained in a wrapper made from glutinous rice flour. There is one that has a nice variation on this theme, and that's Ichigo Daifuku, a three part Daifuku, with a whole strawberry at its center. I'm using the recipe of 'Cooking with Dog', the video blog for Japanese cooking.
She makes it look easy, but I find the hardest part is wrapping the center with the glutinous rice dough. The trick is to pinch out the pastry into a circular disc first, using plenty of starch to avoid it sticking. That made it easier to pull the pastry around the strawberry and end up with something even and thin. Don't make the outer layer too think, it will be unpleasantly chewy and spoiled the effect of the daifuku, if you have too much glutinous dough when you pinch the edges together, pinch off any excess. The other thing is, use a small slightly sour strawberry for this. The strawberry sourness is the contrast for the sweet red bean paste. If it's too ripe and sweet you lose the effect.
Perhaps I'll try marzipan instead of red bean paste. You need sweetness, and firmness in that layer, but it strikes me that marzipan is the perfect layer there. Or even the sweet yellow bean paste, the Chinese use for in sweet pies.
100 gms Sticky Rice Flour
95-100 mls Water
2 tablespoons Sugar
Potato or Corn Starch for Dusting
150 gms Sweet Red Bean Paste
6 Small Strawberries
1. Cut off the green cap of the strawberries, clean and dry.
2. Cover thinly in the red bean paste, set aside in the fridge.
3. Mix the flour and sugar together, add the water and mix. Keep mixing until you get a smooth liquid paste.
4. Place in a bowl and steam for 15 minutes. 'Cooking With Dog' covered the steamer lid with a cloth, but this proved unnecessary, just be careful when opening it so the water doesn't drip from the lid into the cooked paste.
5. Mix the paste again with a spatula, cover and leave to cool to room temperature.
6. It is very sticky at this point, so get some starch, potato or corn starch will do.
7. Dust your fingers, and a plate, place the sticky cooked dough on the plate and cut into 6 equal pieces.
8. Press out each piece into a small disc, take a strawberry wrapped in bean paste and place it in the center and pull the disc over it and pinch it shut.
9. Brush off any excess starch and leave to settle in the fridge.