Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
As a process of learning how to use mochi flour, and in particular, shiratamako, I thought I would try to make the Nobu West Rice Pizza, (p 192, 193). In keeping with making microbatches of the recipes I was learning how to make, I determined that what I need to mix up was:
3/4 c shiratamako (3.5 oz) (this came out to 12 T)
1/2 c + 2 T boiling hot water
1/2 T extra virgin oil oil
1/16 t salt
I would need to blend all these ingredients together well to create a smooth dough. As I thought about this, it occurred to
me to blend the salt into the hot water before adding it to the dough and then adding the olive oil to the mix. At that
point I would have to let that new dough rest on my flour dusted marble board for about an hour to proof.
So when I went to make the dough with the shiratamako, I discovered that the amount of water I used was accidentally far too much. So going back to my earlier project with peanut crusted mochi, I remembered that the amount of water was 4 parts shiratamako and 3 parts water. This meant I needed to use 9 tablespoons of water (1/4 c and maybe 1/2 t more) for my second attempt. By the way – trying to save the dough from first attempt required a total of 19
tablespoons of shiratamako! Once I realized my mistake, I remade the dough with the right amount of water.
Once the dough had proofed, I hoped to divide the dough in 3 equal parts and then roll them out as thin as possible
and then stack them onto cling film (saran wrap?) or parchment and then let the crusts chill in the refridgerator for about 20 minutes. As it would turn out, the incorrect dough was so brittle, the dough completely broke apart when I tried to roll it out and there was no saving it.
In actually ‘cooking’ the crusts, Matsuhisa-sama indicates that the crusts need to be cooked in a pan with about 1/2 T of
olive oil on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes a side, flipping them regularly so as not the let the crusts burn.
Once the crust were ready, I could divide each into 6 wedges and top each slice with a small amount of sashimi items with garnishes. I was thinking of things like smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, smoked trout, smoked black cod, paddlfish
caviar, ikura, and the list could go on.
On tasting, my wife mentioned how well the seafood went with the crust. The outer crust was itself crisp and crunchy; but we both noticed the mochi ‘chewieness’ since I wasn’t able to roll the crusts out thin enough. But all in all she asked that we be able to have this again.
…Fast forward a weekend later…
Unhappy with the way the dough turned out, I took another crack at this recipe with a few things in mind. I thought about the original recipe and how the dough had to be broken into three parts before rolling. So it occurred to me to make 1/3rd the recipe:
8 T shiratamako
6 T boiling hot water
1 t extra virgin oil oil
1/24 t salt
Like the original recipe, I would add the olive oil to the dry shiratamako and then pour in the boiling salted water.
Third, I would just form the dough, NOT flour it, and turned it
out onto a floured (potato flour/starch) board for rolling WITHOUT letting it sit for an hour. I then had to work quickly
to get the dough the flatten out while it was still moist enough to be pliable. I then used a thin spatula (makeshift
version of a pastry scraper), got it carefully off my board so I could get it over to the preheated pan. The dough was
finally at the expected thinness. I got the crust into the pan and let it cook for about 3 minutes. At 3 minutes, it didn’t seem crisp enough so I went
another minute before flipping the crust. Tapping the crust in the pan told me when it was ready to be moved out
for cutting and topping. It wasn’t a perfectly round crust, but round enough to be sliced and topped with smoked
trout and paddlefish caviar. While the flavors matched my expectations, I reflected on what it took to make this dish. Clearly, it’s something I would consider making again as a part of a multicourse meal – a piece or two of this for starters if I were serving multiple guests. I must say, the rice flour that was referred to in the book must have been mochiko which probably had different preparation properties. I will say, I understand now why the recipe said to split the original dough into three parts. It seemed to me that a rice flour (in this case, shiratamako) dough was more sensitive to drying out.. Since there’s no gluten in the rice flour, I expect 8 tablespoons of shiratamako (or for that matter, mochiko) is probably the most amount of rice flour you can use to get a thin rolled out crust.
My wife and I fully enjoyed this recipe and I can see how this dish could be part of a light lunch since the mochi crust is quite filling.