The Tacoma Buddhist Temple will have its annual sukiyaki lunch this weekend. Temple members will serve the one-pot meal to the public as a fundraiser for the temple from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday March 3. The sukiyaki is cooked in vessels that date back to 1962 when the temple’s minister at the time, Rev. Sadamaro Ouchi, bought the aluminum pans specifically for the annual sukiyaki dinner. Over the years, other pans have joined the service, but the recipes — and even many of the temple cooks — have remained the same.
On the menu is made-to-order sukiyaki, a meal of thinly sliced beef, saifun noodles, tofu, green onions and veggies, all lightly cooked in a broth. Temple members also will serve chicken teriyaki, teriyaki beef kabobs, vegetable kabobs, rice, mochi cupcakes and mochi ice cream. Items are priced individually and range from $1-$12. Diners should arrive promptly — items may sell out early.
Tacoma Buddhist Temple’s Sukiyaki Dinner
Where: Tacoma Buddhist Temple, 1717 S. Fawcett Ave.
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday March 3 2013 (serving is expected until 4 p.m., or while supplies last)
Cost: The event is free, food items cost $1-$12.
Info: tacomabt.org or 253-627-1417
Every fall, the temple also hosts a bazaar and feast to raise money. On the dessert menu at that feast is homemade daifuku mochi assembled in the downstairs kitchen at the temple. It’s a dessert made with a thin, chewy rice flour wrapper stuffed with sweetened bean paste. If you’ve eaten mochi as a dessert in a Japanese restaurant, chances are that you’ve been served the frozen version stuffed with ice cream. You can find the bean-paste filled mochi at Korean bakeries on South Tacoma Way (such as Boulangerie and Olive Bakery). Or, you can make it at home. At a mochi-making party I attended a few years ago, temple member Toyoko Nakagawara shared her secrets for making perfect mochi. The dough is made by hand from sweetened rice flour, sugar, corn syrup and just enough water to make it a big, sticky mess. It’s steamed over a big pot of boiling water, then rolled by hand until it’s just the right creamy texture. A dusting of cornstarch keeps the dough pliable. The beans are simmered with sugar and water to a thick paste – that’s the center of the mochi. The mochi dough is cut into circles, then stuffed with rolled balls made from the paste. A solid roll and a few pats shape the mochi into gelatinous orbs. Mochi also can be made as a frozen dessert using ice cream instead of bean paste. For a home cook, daifuku mochi can be made using the microwave. Nakagawara shared her recipe here. Give it a try:
For the dough:
1-1/2 cups sweet rice flour (see purchasing note)
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups water
1/4 cup corn syrup
For the bean filling:
2 pounds azuki beans (dried red beans)
5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Water to fill
For the dough: Mix rice flour and sugar together well in a microwave-safe large bowl. Add water and mix well with wooden spoon, then add the corn syrup and mix until combined. Cover mixture in microwave-safe bowl with stretchable plastic food wrap to create a dome during microwaving. Microwave on high for 8 to 9 minutes. Remove plastic cover. (Be careful, the plastic wrap will be hot.) Quickly knead the mochi dough with a wooden spoon. Roll mochi out onto a large cutting board sprinkled with corn starch. Divide mochi into 14 or 15 pieces. Then, flatten the discs and fill with the azuki bean filling and then mound into a circular shape.
For the bean filling: Put azuki beans in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight until soft to the touch. Rinse beans and then place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover and turn the heat to low. Simmer until beans are soft, about an hour. Remove the lid and cook beans until water has reduced and beans are fully cooked. Add sugar and salt and cook until water is nearly gone, being careful not to let the beans get too mushy. Remove mixture and place into a microwave safe bowl and microwave until the mixture is just softer than the texture of cookie dough. (The dough will stiffen as it cools, so be careful not to let it get too thick.) Let mixture cool and form azuki filling into small balls to be placed inside mochi dough.
Purchasing notes: Sweet rice flour and red beans can be purchased at Japanese and Korean grocery stores. Try Paldo World, Asian Market and BooHan Market in Lakewood and East Asia Supermarket in Tacoma. Nakagawara likes the Blue Star Brand Sweet Rice Flour from Koda Farms. You can buy the azuki filling already prepared at the Korean or Japanese grocery stores. Azuki beans are sometimes spelled adzuki or aduki, as well.