Japanese American Matcha Mochi Cupcakes

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Japanese American Matcha Mochi Cupcakes

By Debra Samuels |
Globe Correspondent November 2, 2011

TOKYO – Many foods brought to America by new immigrants evolve into dishes that combine ingredients from both cultures. California rolls are a good example.
This Japanese-American sweet, called matcha-mochi cupcakes, is virtually unknown in Japan. It combines Japanese ingredients with western ones. I have taken this recipe from Boston to Tokyo for my Japanese friends to try and they’re very curious about it. Mochiko, a sweet rice flour used to make classic sticky rice dumplings, is not traditionally used to make cakes or cupcakes.
The little cakes have a chewy consistency, like mochi. These are flavored with matcha, the bitter powdered green tea used in the tea ceremony. Now green tea is liberally used in both Japanese and American desserts and specialty drinks. The center of the cupcake is filled with jammy sweet beans.
The little cakes have a chewy consistency, like mochi. These are flavored with matcha, the bitter powdered green tea used in the tea ceremony. Now green tea is liberally used in both Japanese and American desserts and specialty drinks. The center of the cupcake is filled with jammy sweet beans.

Matcha-mochi cupcakes
Makes about 16
Thai sweet rice (glutinous) flour doesn’t work in this recipe. The best results are with Koda Farms Mochiko. I first learned about mochi cupcakes when a Boston friend who is married to a Japanese-American man. She got the recipe from her mother-in-law’s Buddhist Temple Community cookbook from Los Angeles. It has since been tweaked several times by other cooks.
3 cups (one 1-pound box) Koda Farms Mochiko (sweet rice flour, available at Asian Markets and some Whole Foods Markets)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons matcha (green tea powder)
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 can (15 ounces) sweet adzuki beans (optional)
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper or foil cups.
2. In a bowl, combine the rice flour, baking powder, salt, and green tea. Whisk well.
3. In another larger bowl, mix the oil and sugar. Add the eggs and milk and whisk vigorously.
4. Add the rice flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until completely blended.
5. Fill the cupcake papers half full with the batter. Add a scant tablespoon of the adzuki beans. Spoon a little more batter over the beans. This should come just below the tops of the papers.
6. Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes or until the begin to crack. Set on a wire rack to cool.

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