Butter Mochi (Sweet Rice Flour Cake)

Butter Mochi

September: National Rice Month

Islander’s Daddy brings butter mochi and bibingka to church meetings and Islander has continued the custom on the mainland. When a few friends get together for a prayer social, the “local expatriates” often request a Hawaii-style dessert. Islander obliges and makes a mochiko (sweetened rice flour) cake because it can feed a crowd. Our haole friends refer to butter mochi as Hawaiian cornbread because it looks like it. Some cultures consider corn as king, but to others rice is royalty! For National Rice Month, make something ‘ono with sweetened rice flour and bake butter mochi.

Recipe

(Adapted from Hawaii’s Best Local Desserts)

Ingredients

  • 1 box (16 ounces/1 pound) mochiko (sweet rice flour)
  • 3 cups sugar (we used 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter (plus more for greasing the pan and shining the top)
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 can (12 ounces) coconut milk

Directions

Generously grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter. In a microwave safe bowl, place the stick of butter and microwave until melted. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, mix the mochiko and sugar.

Butter Mochi

Add baking powder and the melted butter to the mixture. Mix in the beaten eggs, vanilla and coconut milk. Stir well until smooth.

Butter Mochi

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick (should come out clean). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Rub about two tablespoons of butter on top of the butter mochi until it shines. This prevents the dessert from drying and cracking too much. Cool completely. Slice into squares and serve.

Butter Mochi

Notes

  • Squares of butter mochi may be garnished with shredded coconut (optional).
  • Islander’s Daddy serves the sliced squares in cute cupcake papers for a pretty presentation.
  • Search our blog for more rice recipes.

Khao Pad (Thai Fried Rice)

Khao Pad

September:
National Rice Month

Rice is one of the first things that the keiki (children)of Hawaii and Asia learn how to cook.

When Highlander visited Oahu to “meet the parents” of Islander, he was asked to cook rice for the first time and help prepare the family’s meal. When measuring the grains from the cup to the cooker container, he spilled the rice all over the kitchen floor. What a way to impress his soon-to-be in-laws! But he learned how easy it is to cook rice and can confidently make it now without a mess.

For our wedding, we were gifted with a large rice cooker from Islander’s co-workers. We use it to cook big batches of rice when we host a lot of people in our home. We also have a smaller rice cooker from Islander’s college days which we still use to prepare enough rice to feed just the two of us. If we have a lot left over, we simply stir-fry it for another meal.

One of the dishes we cook is khao pad with leftover jasmine rice. This Thai-style fried rice is hearty and fragrant and is our featured post for National Rice Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from About.com Thai Food)

For the stir-fry sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespooon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar 

For the fried rice

  • 2-3 cups leftover cooked rice (we recommend jasmine rice)
  • 2 tablespoons oil, divided use
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 3-4 dried red chili peppers (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup fried tofu
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • cilantro sprigs and sliced cucumbers (optional garnish)

Directions

Cook the rice several days in advance (measure, rinse/wash and steam in the cooker). Or use leftover rice.

Khao Pad

Prepared the stir-fry sauce by combining the soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Mix well and set aside. Separate any clumps of leftover rice by gently working 1 tablespoon of oil through the grains with your fingers. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large skillet. Stir fry the garlic for about a minute under medium-high heat. Mix in the red chili peppers, if using. Push the garlic and chili peppers to the side of the pan. Crack the eggs and scramble them. Push to the side of the pan.

Khao Pad

Saute the shrimp until pink. Fold in the rice with the stir-fry sauce and mix well. Add the peas, tofu and green onions. Remove from the stovetop and serve hot. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and sliced cucumbers.

Khao Pad

Notes

  • Fried rice recipes are very versatile and other ingredients may be added. Substitute the shrimp for thinly sliced pork, Chinese sausage (lap cheung) or chicken pieces. Add frozen diced carrots with the frozen peas and tomato wedges to the stir-fry for more of a vegetable medley.
  • Thanks to Lisa L. for the Thai silk skirt which we used as a background for our final food photo above. She got it for Islander when she was stationed in Thailand.
  • Search our blog for more rice recipes.

Arancini (Sicilian Rice Balls)

Arancini

September: National Rice Month

Rice is a staple in our household, as Islander was raised eating it almost every day in Hawaii. Any leftovers would be made into fried rice, such as Spam fried ricesinangag and khao pad. Then our friend Lisa L., who spent time in Sicily, Italy, as a reservist in the U.S. Navy, told us about fried rice balls called arancini. She ate them as a snack while she toured the towns during base liberty there.  Islander was interested in using leftover rice to cook a different dish from another culture—and arancini was a great idea!

Arancini is derived from the Italian word arancia, meaning “orange” (arancina means “little orange”), because the fried rice balls look like the fruit. There are a variety of filllings, such as meat, peas, mushrooms, cheese and even chocolate (on the Feast Day of St. Lucy).

We made our arancini with a mozzarella cheese filling. These simple Sicilian snacks are petite, portable and perfect for posting a recipe in observance of National Rice Month!

Recipe

(Adapted from UKTV Good Food Channel)

Ingredients

  • Leftover rice or pasta risotto
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mozzarella cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Italian-flavored breadcrumbs (such as Progresso brand)
  • Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)
  • Oil for frying

Directions

Salt and pepper the leftover rice. Make a 2 ½ – 3-inch diameter ball with the rice and slightly flatten it to create a well in the middle. Place a cube of cheese and enclose with the rice.

Arancini

Beat the egg and dip the rice ball in it. Coat in the Italian-flavored breadcrumbs. Then roll in panko to add crispness.

Arancini

Deep fry until golden and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with a side of tomato sauce (optional).

Arancini

Notes 

  • We made Santa Lucia Leves on the Feast Day of St. Lucy on December 13,  but the water used to boil the rice just added flavor to this Hungarian soup. The rice itself was not included in the recipe so we made arancini out of it.
  • Search our blog for other rice recipes.