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The Japanese describe the texture of ichigo daifuku’s tender rice flour wrapping as that of an earlobe. If that’s so, then this dessert is like softly kissing your lover’s ear… but this ear tastes of sweet red bean paste and strawberries!

Ideally, you’ll want to prepare the filling well in advance, so that it’s firm and easy to work with when wrapping it with the tender dough. Be prepared to work quickly and delicately when wrapping, and be sure to pinch together the dough on the thick end of the strawberry, for optimal presentation.

Ichigo Daifuku present well when cut with a clean, very sharp knife


  • 100g mochiko (sweet rice flour) or shiratamako (shiratama flour) *do not use regular rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 120ml water (about ½ cup)
  • 200-300g an (sweet red bean paste), well-chilled

*Note: koshi an = fine paste, and tsubu an = coarse paste

  • 6 small strawberries, washed with stems removed
  • Katakuriko (potato starch) to dust (you can use corn starch if you can’t find katakuriko)


  1. Chill the an for several hours or overnight. This is very important, as warm an is too sticky and soft to shape.
  2. Prepare the strawberry and an balls by portioning off a ping-pong ball’s worth of cold an and flattening it. Place the strawberry on top and gently wrap the an around it, forming a ball. Work quickly! Place with strawberry pointy-side up on a plate or sheet, and repeat with all of the strawberries.  Cover all strawberry/an balls with cling film and chill to make firm.
  3. Make the mochi dough.
    1. Mix the mochiko flour and sugar well, and then slowly mix in the water a little at a time with a rubber spatula, until dough is lump-free.
    2. Steam the dough. Cover tightly with saran wrap and microwave for approx. 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave, and mix thoroughly with a wet rubber spatula (it will be very sticky – re-wet the spatula as necessary in a bowl of water). Re-cover tightly and microwave for 1 more minute.
    3. Mix the steamed dough vigorously with a wet rubber spatula until it becomes glossy.  If it is still dull, re-cover tightly and re-steam in the microwave for another minute and try again.
    4. Turn out the dough onto a baking sheet dusted with potato starch and gently shape it into an oblong log. Pinch off into 6 equal balls. They should be very tender.  You’ll have to work quickly from this point, as the mochi will be less pliable as it cools.
  4. Make the daifuku balls.
      1. Dust your hands with potato starch and flatten the dough (while still warm) into a disc, with a thin centre.
      2. Place the strawberry/an ball in the centre, point down, and gently pull the dough around the ball, gathering the ends together and pinching it shut to encase the ball. The gathered/pinched end of the mochi dough at the thick end of the strawberry.
      3. Place pinched side down, and cover tightly with cling film to preserve its soft texture. Serve ASAP with bitter green tea or coffee.