At a previous job, I had the luxury of working within walking distance from SF’s Japantown. Every now and then, I would treat myself to fresh mochi from Benkyodo, a hole-in-the-wall diner and Japanese sweets shop. They always have a good variety of mochi flavors, but my favorites are the fresh strawberry and the chunky red bean. They aren’t overly sweet and the mochi is always so soft but not too chewy. With all the fresh strawberries in markets now, I thought it’d be a good new dessert to try making. I bought a box of mochiko from Target, found a simple recipe online, and was good to go. I couldn’t believe you could make the mochi in the microwave! After hollowing out the partially frozen strawberries (makes it much easier without breaking it), I had a lightbulb moment and put some Nutella into the cavity. I swear you can put Nutella in anything and it would be good.
Forming the mochi into a ball was tricky and resulted in many miniature Jabba the Hutts, but I finally got it at the end. Flatten a piece of mochi as evenly as possible, put the filling in, and pinch the edges together until the stickiness seals up the mochi. You cannot roll the mochi into a ball like it’s a scoop of cookie dough – it will just get stickier and stickier, and then tear. Taste-wise the mochi was a little chewy, but that was probably because I used too much per piece of mochi. If all else fails, just eat the Nutella-filled strawberries as is! I sure did.
Update // I stored the mochi overnight in Tupperware, which kept it soft and even made it less chewy than when I ate a fresh one. The Nutella mixed with the moisture from the strawberry and became runny, but because the mochi was sealed, it didn’t leak. Just be careful when biting in!