This is the sweet version of the rice cakes I make for Ro-Ri San’s and the boys’ bento boxes. Instead of using short grain rice and a savory or salty filling, I use sweet sticky rice and sweet potatoes for the filling. The sticky rice is lightly salted to contrast with the sweet filling. A moist, tender cake to go with the delicate Gyokuro green tea.
1 medium (½ lb) sweet potato
1 tbsp sugar
Peel sweet potato and cut into cubes. Steam for 15 minutes until it is soft. Remove, mash. Place in a small pan with sugar. Stir and cook till sugar dissolves and a little of the moisture has evaporated. This takes about 5 minutes.
Drain sticky rice. Place in a bowl together with water, sugar, and salt. Stir to mix. Put on a steaming rack and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove and set aside until it is cool enough to handle.
Divide filling into 6 portions. Shape into cylinders. Wet hands. Divide sticky rice into 12 portions. Spread one portion of sticky rice onto palm into an oval. Place one portion of sweet potato filling on the sticky rice. Take a second portion of the sticky rice and place on top of filling. Shape into a barrel or log. Repeat with the rest of sticky rice and sweet potato filling.
Gyokuro meaning “jade dew” is among the finest teas from Japan. The gyokuro leaves are shielded from the sun 20 days before harvesting. The reduced light causes the tea leaves to develop a higher chlorophyll content, giving it a dark green color and a lower tannin content, giving the tea a sweeter, milder flavor. It has a yellowish green infusion and a slight vegetal taste.
Gyokuro should be steeped at a lower temperature of between 120˚F – 140˚F (50˚C – 60˚C). I normally pour boiling water into a cold teapot and leave the water to cool uncovered for about 3 – 4 minutes. Do the same for the teacups. Lower tea infuser basket with tea leaves into teapot and let steep for 1½ – 2 minutes. Remove infuser and pour into warmed teacups. Definitely add more water to steep tea leaves a second or third time.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!