Have you ever heard the names of Japanese foods such as "zunda" (ずんだ), which are mashed green soybeans (edamame), and rice cake "mochi"? I think those who have traveled to Tohoku region might have probably eaten ones. The Japanese Local Cuisine Reproduction Series this time features the recipe for zunda mochi, which was selected as one of 100 Best Local Dishes (農山漁村の郷土料理百選) by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries - as one of the representatives from Miyagi Prefecture. In particular, I will introduce how to make healthy zunda mochi by adding silken tofu to Shiratama-ko rice flour.
What is Japanese local cuisine?
Local cuisine (郷土料理 / Kyodo-ryouri) refers to dishes suitable for the climate that have been eaten in a local area for many years by using regional products. Many of them are comfort food and are popular among Japanese for domestic gourmet trips.
History and origin of zunda mochi
It is said that the origin of the word “zunda” for zunda mochi is a corrupted form of “zuda” (豆打), which means to crush/grind beans.
Although there are various theories, most believe that it originated when edamame was mashed with a sword by Date Masamune of the Sendai Domain during the battle, and the word "Jintachi" (陣太刀 - Japanese for 'battle sword') became "zunda" afterward.
Originally, zunda mochi was a dish that was eaten during the Obon period in Tohoku, mainly in Miyagi and Yamagata, but now it has become a specialty of Sendai and is sold at souvenir shops and sweets shops all year round.
Characteristics of zunda mochi
“Zunda mochi” is a dish of mochi mixed with ground edamame bean paste rich in nutrients. The light green color makes it look cool and cute. Since it is usually made in the summer, it is often eaten cold. "Zunda" grounded into a paste is easy to eat and good for digestion, making it a popular hot summer dish.
If you take a bite of freshly made zunda mochi, the aroma of the edamame beans will instantly fill your mouth!
Ingredients for zunda mochi (15 pieces)
- 200g edamame (with pods)
*If the edamame is frozen, defrost it in advance
- 40g cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
For shiratama dumpling:
- 150g Shiratama-ko rice flour
- 180g silken tofu
How to make zunda mochi - with video
- Remove the edamame beans from the edamame pods, put them in a mortar. Add sugar and salt, then mash and mix them with a pestle.
- Put the shiratama-ko rice flour and tofu in a bowl and knead it by hands. When the mixture feels like an earlobe, roll into bite-sized balls and make a dent in the center.
- Add items from step#2 to boiling water, let them float to the surface then boil for additional 1-2 minutes. After that, chill them in ice water.
- Sprinkle the mixture from step#1 over those from step#3 and it is done.