Daifuku is a small, soft, round, sweet rice bun. It is made from the rice paste called “mochi” wrapped around a filling which becomes the middle. There is no cooking involved; they are served as is.
There are two common sizes: one about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) wide, and another about large enough to fill a hand.
The bun may be left white, or it may be coloured a pale green or a pale pink. They are dusted with a powder to keep them from sticking to each other. The powder is usually taro or corn starch, but sometimes it is icing sugar or potato flour (katakuriko.)
The mochi rice paste can be made the “old-fashioned way” starting from rice. A modern, time-saving way is to make the mochi from Shiratamako Flour.
The mochi is pressed out to flat rounds, and a small amount of filling is placed in the centre. Then, the mochi is wrapped around the filling, and pressed on the edges to seal the filling in.
The filling is usually anko (red bean paste that has been sweetened.) The filling can also be fruit pieces or fruit paste, or a combo of fruit and anko, or chestnuts, or even peanut butter.
Daifuku is often named to reflect the type of filling inside. Ichigo Daifuku has in its centre a whole strawberry covered with sweet red bean paste. It is a specialty of the Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo, Hawaii.
Daifuku is usually eaten with a cup of hot, green tea whose bitterness counters the sweetness.
It costs about 5 bucks US for 3 pieces (2008 prices), depending on the fillings.
Pronounced “di – foo — koo.”
Daifuku in Japanese manes “great luck.”