Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
I distinctly remember the first time I had shiratama as a girl around 7 years old and my mom excitedly giving me what I took to be slippery dumplings with no taste. With a huge grin on her face, she said to me 「ほら、食べて。美味しいでしょう。」, which roughly translates to "here eat this. Isn't this good?" I didn't know what to say. I was expecting a dessert and it wasn't sweet. All I could taste was the gumminess inside my mouth. My mom was making a shiratama tsubuan (sweet red bean paste) dessert but out of excitement she just gave me the shiratama before putting it together with the tsubuan.
Years later, I finally understood what it is about these little dumplings that make them so good. They're like instant little mochi balls but aren't quite as chewy or stretchy as mochi. They have a mild taste and subtle sweetness that goes well with desserts and savory dishes.
They are also super easy to make.
40 grams or 1.4 oz of shiratamako (shiratama flour)
34 cc or 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of warm water (add a small splash more water if it's not enough)
1) Put the shiratamako in a bowl and add about 1/3 of the water. Mix with your finger and add 1/3 of the water and mix again. Add the remaining water and mix. The consistency should feel your ear lobe when you pinch it. I know that's a weird way of putting it but that's a common way of describing the consistency of food in Japanese.
2) Boil 2 cups of water in a small sauce pan.
3) Ball up the shiratama and flatten with the palms of your hands.
4) Cut up the shiratama into 8 equal pieces.
5) Ball each piece up and flatten a little with the palm of your hands.
6) Drop them all into the pot so that they are not touching and boil for 2 minutes.
7) They are done when they float. Scoop them up with a slotted spoon and chill in a bowl of cold water.
Shiratamako has course and fine pieces.
Slowly add in the water.
Mix with your fingers.
Add more water and mix again. Repeat one more time if necessary.
Ball up into one ball.
Flatten and cut into 8 pieces.
Ball each one up and flatten.
Eight equal pieces.
Put them into boiling water and boil for 2 minutes.
When they float to the surface they are done.