Recipe Time: Mochi (Coconut Dumplings) + SBS Featured Foodie
When my mum would tell me stories of her family’s hardships when growing up in the Philippines (usually when I talk about getting an iPad!) – I would always remind myself to be grateful for everything I have from my health, the fact that I can eat whatever I want and to be thankful for every moment. Not having much money meant that each meal was portioned, so dessert wasn’t exactly high on the agenda. However, coconuts were cheap and abundant so one dessert that mum would often make for the family is Mochi- filled with freshly grated coconut that is combined with brown sugar.
This recipe for Moche reminds me of Ham Sui Gok (Deep fried golden Crescent Dumplings) or what I refer to it as ‘the football,’ but it is sweet rather than savory. Speaking of Yum Cha, likely due to my appearance, all the waiters assume I’m Chinese so they would speak to me in either Cantonese or Mandarin. I used to correct them, but many years later, I just find it incredibly amusing. Although, when my family starts to request spoon and forks, it becomes blatantly obvious were aren’t Chinese!
Apart from my brother and I, no one in our family knows how to use chopsticks which is understandable as it is not part of the Filipino culture to use them, especially amongst my mum’s generation.
What makes this recipe healthy yet sinful?
Apart from the sweet aroma from the sugar coated coconut that fills the air with happiness, it is the grating of the coconut with a custom built grater that is the best part of making Moche as well as getting abit of a workout at the same time- which means less guilt when topping it off with some hefty scoops of ice cream! Yea boy!
1/2 of a Coconut (do not use packaged dessicated coconut as it will turn out dry)
1 cup of of Glutinous Rice Flour
1/2 a cup of raw sugar
1. Start by shredding the fresh coconut until all the flash has been stripped (ooh, dirtay!)
2. Heat the saucepan under medium heat
3. In a large bowl, combine the shredded coconut flesh with 1/2 cup of raw sugar. Best to mix it all up with your hands then throw it all into the hot saucepan
4. Gently stir until the coconut caramelises then set it aside in a bowl to cool
5. In another large bowl, add the Glutinous Rice Flour. For some reason, this part of the cooking process gives me chills. I don’t know if it’s the texture of the rice flour or what, but I get the same feeling of when someone scrapes a chalkboard with their fingernails. Yes, I’m weird.
Anyways, bit by bit, keep adding water to the flour whilst adding no more than half a cup of water until it comes together to form a dough. Texture should be not too wet or crumbly.
6. Wet your hands slightly so the dough doesn’t shrivel/break up, grab a teaspoons worth and roll it into a ball then gently flatten (as seen below)
7. Do a little scoopin and fetch a small amount of that candied coconut (that I KNOW you’ve been snacking on all this time) and add to the center. Try not to get it across the perimeter as the coconut will burn. The last thing you want is burnt edges.
8. Wet the edges with a damp finger then fold the sides together to seal it baby.
Repeat steps 6-8 until you make 12. Try not to make them too large as it will expand when deep fried.
9. Heat the saucepan well and add enough oil to to deep fry the suckers (approx 3cm)
10. When the oil is hot, add each dumpling using a tong preferably with a rubber end so not to prick the fragile outer layer. Alternatively, gently drop each one in with a large spoon. Don’t be doing no cannonballs now!
11. Should take no more than a few minutes. Flip them over once until they’re golden. Remove and place them onto a plate with some paper towels.
Side note: I’d rather eat dirt than have to wash an unnecessary amount of dishes, so please reuse the bowls where you can. There should be no more than 2 in total here.
You’ve been served!
If you can get your hands on some Ube (purple yam) ice cream, that would make this dish absolutely freakin perfect. Coconut is often added to Ube ice cream in Philippines referred to as Macupuno. Otherwise, vanilla ice cream suits just fine.
SBS Featured Foodie!
I’m an SBS Food junkie – often found glued to the TV when Food Safari is on. They have such a strong emphasis on food programs and as well as being a respected body within the industry so I was incredibly humbled to be their Featured Foodie.
As part of the interview, I was asked about my Filipino background, how my family has influenced my relationship with food, best breakfasts out and what I thought of Melbourne’s food scene. My favourite question was around what meal had sent me to food rehab- in all seriousness, there have been too many to count but after some debate, I managed to drill it down to one dining experience.
You may have already seen the feature if you subscribe to their newsletter.
Below is an exerpt. Otherwise, check out the full interview here.