If you love dumplings and chocolate, this recipe is for you. Chefs Alexander Ong and Michael Siegel of Betelnut restaurant invited me for a lesson on how to make Siegel’s tasty creation, a mochi (sticky rice) wrapped dumpling that contains a filling of chocolate ganache. When I arrived at the San Francisco restaurant, Siegel was ready with all of his mis en place. We joked as he whisked, steamed, cut, and wrapped the dumplings. Siegel made it look so easy that for the first time, I felt like I could master Japanese wagashi-style confections and teach others too as well.
I had invited my dear friend Carolyn Jung of Foodgal.com to join us that afternoon, but I hadn’t fully explained what Siegel’s mochi dumpling was about. Carolyn had to squeeze our get together into her schedule, and when she arrived at Betelnut and discovered that the dumplings contained chocolate, she nearly exploded with glee.
“You didn’t tell me that he put CHOCOLATE into them!” she said. Oh. I told her they were truffle dumplings but the dumpling part got more to me and I overlooked the chocolate attraction to her!
When Carolyn tasted Siegel’s trio of mochi dumplings, she could barely contain herself to share them with the rest of us. I turned away for a few moments and when I returned my gaze to the mochi plate, it was empty.
Mochi Covered Dark Chocolate Truffles
These dumplings are little tricky to make as ideally, you want the wrapper to stick to the chocolate. It’s fine if they don’t but Japanese wagashi is a lot about aesthetics. Blue Star brand Mochiko sweet rice flour is sold in boxes at Asian markets and some supermarkets (look in the ethnic food aisle). For the chocolate, I used Trader Joe’s pound plus as it’s my go-to chocolate for recipe development and practice cooking. Tapioca starch is sold at Asian markets and a heavy use of it here prevents sticking.
This mochi-wrapped dark chocolate truffle recipe has been adapted for home use. Betelnut has some equipment that home kitchens lack. I took that into consideration when developing this dumpling recipe for your use.
Makes 20 dumplings
2 medium navel oranges, gently scrubbed, washed and dried
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound dark or bittersweet chocolate
12.97 ounces (2 1/4 cups) Blue Star brand Mochiko Sweet Rice flour (made by Koda Farms)
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups water
Tapioca or potato starch
1. Use a vegetable peeler to remove just the orange part of the peel. Avoid the white pith as you create long orange strips.
2. Put the peel in a small saucepan. Add the cream and heat over medium-high heat. When the mixture bubbles at the edge, remove from the heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, use a heavy knife to reduce the chocolate to a finely chopped texture. Transfer to a bowl.
4. Strain the scalded orange cream, pressing on the strips to extract the most flavor. Transfer to a clean saucepan, heat over medium-high heat again. When hot and nearly boiling, pour over the chocolate, stirring with the whisk to melt the chocolate and create a smooth mixture. Set aside to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
5. Cover the ganache with plastic and refrigerate for about 45 minutes, until firm but not hard. Use two teaspoons to form 20 rough shaped balls, each about 3/4 inch wide. Deposit each one on a parchment-paper lined tray. Refrigerate for 15 minutes if the balls are too soft to handle. When you can handle them, roll each one between your hands to create a relatively smooth ball. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. These can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours before you wrap them.
6. Whisk together the sweet rice flour, sugar, and water. Set the batter aside.
7. Get the steamer going with water. Meanwhile, find a 7 or 8 inch square baking pan that will fit into your steamer tray. Spray it with cooking spray, then line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. [Per Kevin's comment below, give the parchment a light spraying of cooking spray too.]
8. Pour the batter in to a depth of 3/8 inch thick, cover with foil. (You’ll be using about 1/3 of the batter.) steam over moderate heat (lower your flame as you don’t want a powerful rolling boil) for 15 minutes, until translucent and tacky to the touch; remove the foil to check. Detach the tray and set aside to cool 5-8 minutes. Remove the ganache balls from the refrigerator and set aside.
9. Put a heavy dusting of tapioca starch on your work surface. Use your fingers to pull up on the parchment and remove the layer of mochi. Invert it onto the dusted work surface. Peel off the paper. Dust the top with more starch. Use a wooden dowel rolling pin to gently even out the layer of mochi. Aim for a thickness of 3/8 inch.
10. Use a 3-inch ring mold to cut out circles of the dough. They don’t have to be perfect. While the dough is still slightly warm and supple, take each circle in your hand, put a ganache ball in the center. Then flip the whole thing over so the wrapper covers the ball. Pull down on the wrapper to pull it over the chocolate. Pinch together the edges to close. Turn the dumpling upside down and twist off and discard any excess.
Place the finished dumpling in a plastic container or on a plate. Repeat before steaming more batter for another round. You will steam 3 times. Should there be boo boos with the wrapper and you run out, roll the leftover ganache balls in unsweetened coco powder and eat them as straight ahead truffles.
11. Store the dumplings in an airtight container at room temperature for up 36 hours. Enjoy as is.
- Asian dumpling pantry items
- Mochi Master Michael Siegel
- DIY wooden dowel rolling pin for dumpling making
- More on how stalwart Betelnut restaurant keeps things fresh and fun (on Carolyn Jung's Foodgal.com)