This is probably the most useless recipe I'll ever node on E2, because the ingredients are almost unobtainable outside Japan (although a Japanese grocery may be able to special-order some) and most people in Japan can read the instructions on the package and whip up their own without my help. But three reasons convince me to forge ahead:
  1. Maybe some poor E2ers in Japan can't read the Japanese instructions
  2. Warabimochi "dough" is one of the most bizarre substances known to man
  3. I am addicted to the end result and import kilograms of the stuff from Japan whenever I can

Homemade Yummy Balls of Bracken Flour Fun
手作りわらび餅 (Tezukuri Warabimochi)

What You Need (The Hard Part)
  • 100g warabimochiko (fern bracken root flour)
    • no substitutes and, to the best of my knowledge, not eaten outside Japan
  • around 20g kinako (soy bean flour)
    • no substitutes, marginally better availability
    • a warabimochi kit will often, but not always, include a package of kinako
  • a few tbsp of mitsu (runny black syrup)
    • other syrups, like molasses, are a poor substitute but better than nothing
  • 50g sugar
  • 600ml water
  • ice (optional but recommended)
How To Make It (The Fun Part)
  1. Pour the water into a saucepan and slowly stir in the warabimochiko and sugar until you have a uniform, milky liquid.
  2. On a medium flame, heat until boiling and then simmer, stirring constantly. The liquid will develop little translucent chunks that will grow in size and stick together until you are left with a pan full of thick, translucent paste. (Reduce heat at this stage, or you'll end up with impossible-to-remove smudges of burned but perfectly transparent warabimochi on the bottom of your pan!) The longer you stir, the more transparent it becomes; stop when the mixture is more or less uniform.
  3. Fill a large bowl with cold water, add ice if you have any.
  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop out little chunks of the glop and plop them into the bowl to set. Repeat until all gone, then let the chunks cool down completely in the water.
  5. Alternatively, if the spoon method's misshapen chunks cause you aesthetic distress, you can fashion a cone from wax paper (leaving a centimeter or so open at the tip) and squirt perfect little spheres into the water.
How to Eat It (The Tasty Part)

Drain off excess water in a colander. With your chopsticks (warning: chopstick-fu required!), dip a ball of warabimochi into the mitsu syrup and then roll it around in kinako. Pop into your mouth and enjoy!

The recipe serves 4-5 people in theory and one not-very-hungry me in practice. Homemade warabimochi remains edible after one day in the fridge, but turns almost white and more solid in the process. Being eaten cold, warabimochi is traditionally a summer dish in Japan, but with a pot of hot green tea on the side it's fine anytime.

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