Zunda Mochi from Sendai Japan

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Zunda Mochi (Sendai speciality)
Zunda Mochi from the Sendai region of Japan

It has been awhile since the Japanese earthquake on March 11, 2011 and the recent tragedies in the mid-west reiterate the power of natural disasters. Japan may have fallen off the front page of the newspaper, but the people in the affected areas are in need of long-term assistance. There are still thousands of people in shelters because their homes were destroyed in the tsunami. One of the hardest hit regions is Sendai, Japan.

Last month, my friend and fellow librarian Jun taught me how to make Zunda Mochi. Jun’s family is from  Sendai and she still has many relatives there. Last year, she visited Sendai and came back with a package of Zunda Mochi which she shared with me. I was immediately smitten. I love all things mochi and the combo of slightly sweetened soybeans or edamame and mochi is a winner.

After the earthquake and updates from Jun about what her family went through, I thought about Zunda Mochi. I wanted to make Zunda Mochi as a celebration of the region's perseverance. Jun said this is a home cooked comfort food; it is sad that so many people do not have homes to return to. I hope you contribute financially to the continuing relief effort in Japan and here in the states. I've listed one way to support Japan at the end of this post.

Zunda Mochi collage 3
Zunda Mochi uses very few ingredients. Really, it is just mochi (rice cakes, unsweetened) with a paste of edamame that has been slightly sweetened. Remember my family's annual mochi making day for New Year's? Well, I still have some mochi in the freezer and we cut some of those pieces. You can also find mochi in the Asian grocery store....just make sure it is plain and unsweetened.

Zunda Mochi collage 1
You need to defrost the edamame (just run it in a colander under water) and remove the outer skin. Yes, one by one! This doesn't take long and if you have a friend with you, it goes by in the flash. You can squeeze them with your fingers and the inner pod just zooms out. The edamame paste freezes really well so you can make a big batch and freeze it. Jun's relatives always have some in the freezer in case a visitor stops by!

Zunda Mochi collage 2
Whiz the naked (skin-off) edamame with some sugar and a bit of water in a food processor. You should get a fairly fine paste...but if you like things a bit chunky, you can leave it more chunky too. You don't want hummus...there should be a little texture.

Zunda Mochi (Sendai speciality)
Boil the mochi (How long depends on the type of mochi you are using. Ours only too a few minutes) and then place it on a plate with a dollop of the paste.

Zunda Mochi (Sendai speciality)
Like all recipes, especially comfort food, there are many variations of Zunda Mochi. The ratio of edamame to mochi pieces varies, and some pastes have more liquid. And some people cook the edamame or the paste...Jun and I didn't do that. Here is I Nom Things version. Google the recipe, find one you like and sit with a friend and shell some soybeans.

Jun - Zunda Mochi
My friend (and soon-to-be mom!) Jun with the dessert of her peeps.

Buy my friend Azusa's Humble Bean Cookbook and help Japan!

One way you can help Japan is by purchasing Humble Bean’s recipe booklet. Azusa, an awesome artist and cook, has created this booklet with proceeds helping the victims in Japan. Buy it here!

Recipes include this lovely Shiitake and Bacon Pasta and...
  • Quick Japanese Pickles
  • Milk Misoshiru with Kabocha
  • Daikon and Scallop Salad
  • Pan Fried Gyoza
  • Chilled Tomato Somen
  • Shiitake and Bacon Pasta
  • Bacon and Shiso Fried Rice
  • Kuwayaki Donburi
  • Sukiyaki Donburi
  • Tuna and Avocado Donburi
  • Matcha Pancakes
Show your support and get a great cookbook to add to your collection by purchasing Humble Bean's booklet!
= = = = = =
Recipe:
Zunda Mochi
Yields: 2 cups paste

One 16 ounce bag of frozen shelled edamame
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon water or more as needed
2 pinches of kosher salt

Mochi pieces

1. Remove the skin from the defrosted edamame. You should yield 14 ounces or about 2 1/2 cups of edamame.
2. Place edamame, sugar, water and salt in a food processor. Process into a paste of desired consistency.
3. Boil mochi pieces until soft. Remove and place on dish.
4. Top mochi with edamame paste.
Note: Paste freezes well.
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11 comments:

vanillasugar said... [Reply to comment]

i've never seen it that way.
that scallop salad sounds good; they all do really.
have a good memorial holiday!

Mary said... [Reply to comment]

I love that your friend wrote a cookbook...thank you for posting this recipe...I feel like the news cycles are so quick that big stories get pushed off the radar too quickly. Still thinking of Japan over here....

chefpandita.com said... [Reply to comment]

Love the sweet edamame, what a great idea! I am buying this book :) thanks for sharing this recipe. xoxo

Azusa said... [Reply to comment]

Mary, that looks beautiful! I love the color of the green... and also digging that ceramic dish. Very rustic and lovely. Thanks for the mention and supporting the cause!

Sook said... [Reply to comment]

Looks delicious!!

odorunara said... [Reply to comment]

I adore zunda! I got to try zunda milkshakes when I was traveling around Fukushima in 2010. Definitely going to try this!

By the way, another variation I've seen on cookpad is using potato starch.

Eliana said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you so much for sharing these dish with us. Love the bright pop of of the green. But most of all, thanks for reminding us that our Japanese brothers and sisters still need our help.

kirbie said... [Reply to comment]

The green looks so pretty! I love the simplicity of this mochi dish. I'm sure I'll love it since I love anything mochi.

Peggy said... [Reply to comment]

Both recipes look fantastic! Definitely going to try the mochi and edamame combo very soon =)

Kimberly (unrivaledkitch) said... [Reply to comment]

every time i come to your blog i feel a little closer to my Japanese heritage. this is wonderful.

thanks for sharing

Arudhi@Aboxofkitchen said... [Reply to comment]

Hello! I was looking for some description for zunda-mochi and I`m so glad to find it here. Your zunda-mochi looks beautiful! My name is Arudhi and I`ve been living in Sendai almost for 7 years now. You have such a wonderful blog here and I`ll be exploring your other posts soon. Happy New Year!

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