I’ve had a package of mochiko (sweet rice flour) in my cupboard for months. I think I bought it to make crispy rice crackers, but the recipe in my book called for joshinko. So off I went then to buy the correct flour, and until beginning Ella’s Challenge the package has sat, neglected at the back of the shelf.
There are two kinds of rice flour: joshinko (上新粉) is made from rinsed, dried, and powdered regular Japanese rice (uruchi-mai). Joshinko is used to make steamed cakes. Mochiko, or shiratamako (白玉粉), is glutinous rice flour, made from rinsed, dried, and powdered glutinous (sweet) rice. It’s used for making gooey dumplings (dango) which are cooked in boiling water. (A note just to make things more confusing is that I found one reference to shiratamako as mochiko mixed with a little potato starch.)
This recipe can make three different kinds of rice crackers. They can be deep fried and puffed like doughnuts, or baked into a cracker like a wafer, or finished with a soy sauce and sugar glaze. I used only 1/3 of the dough for this post, with plans to try the other 2 variations soon. I rolled the dough thinner than instructed by the recipe, so I had 9 rather than 6 crackers.
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 to 1 cup water
- additional flour
- oil for deep frying or lightly greased cookie sheets
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
In a food processor, combine the dry ingedients (the first 7 above). Add the water slowly until the dough becomes a firm ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours, until the dowugh has somewhat firmed up for rolling.
Roll out the dough to aout 1/2″ thickness on a surface lightly dusted with flour. Dust cutter with flour. Cut circles of dough, rerolling as necessary until all dough is cut.
To deep fry the dough: heat oil to 375°F and deep-fry a few circles at a time, removing when golden. Drain. The dough will puff up beautifully as it fries. Serve immediately.
Or: bake the circles on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until they turn light brown. Remove and cool. The baked dough circles do not puff up as much as the deep fried crackers. They have a firmer texture.
Or: glaze the crackers. If you do this version, don’t back the cookies too long because they are going back into the oven to dry the glaze. Over low heat, combine the shoyu and sugar, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce thickens. Use a pastry brush to spread the syrup over the cookies. Pre-heat oven to 300°F for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat. Place the crackers on cookie sheets, and allow senbei to dry out for 6 to 8 hours. The glaze will soak into the crackers and dry a little.
Store in an airtight container. Note: I wouldn’t make the glazed version again: mine dried out too much and became rock hard.
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