in japan, women give chocolate to men on valentine’s day. you can give chocolate to someone you love (“honmei” = true love) or to your colleagues at work as an obligation gift (“giri choco“).
since this one-sidedness is obviously unfair, white day was invented for men to return gifts to women. white day (march 14th, one month after valentine’s day) was created by a marshmallow company in 1965. they urged men to give soft, fluffy marshmallows to the women who had given them chocolate on valentine’s day. it was called “white day” because marshmallows are white.
thankfully, men don’t only give marshmallows nowadays (i hate marshmallows — too sweet!). they can give anything white: underwear, handkerchiefs, stockings, jewelry, etc.
in canada, most men give roses or chocolates for valentine’s day. i worked at a florist in kingston last year on valentine’s day, and i remember the store being packed that afternoon with boys ordering dozens of roses. so many of them showed up in the last few minutes before we closed, when we’d already run out of roses. they were so cute to be so worried when they found out we didn’t have any roses, but i told them it was okay and helped them pick out some other flowers. they were all so sincere — i had a good time helping them choose. i told them it was more romantic and powerful to give just one flower than a whole bouquet.
in canada, i have the luxury of receiving presents on valentine’s day. so i decided to reverse the tradition and give something white on white day. this year, i made mochi!
mochi are cakes made of glutinous rice. you’re supposed to steam the rice and then pound it with a hammer until it’s very sticky. traditionally, we use a long wooden hammer and a large wooden pestle, called “kine” and “usu”. but i don’t have those tools, so instead of using glutinous rice i used glutinous rice flour (it’s called “mochiko”, which is available at asian super markets). and i just put the flour, sugar and water in a bowl and heat it up in the microwave. it works fine!
traditionally, mochi are filled with sweet red bean paste, called “anko”. it’s tasty, but too old-fashioned. in japan, you can buy mochi with a big strawberry inside, along with the anko. that inspired me to get rid of anko (and strawberry) and use raspberries and white chocolate (perfect for white day). i melt the white chocolate and dip the raspberries in it, then wrap the whole thing up in mochi. the hard part is not eating them before they’re done.
- 454g glutinous rice flour (“mochiko“)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 660mL water
- 1 225g bag white chocolate chips
- 1 8oz package fresh raspberries
- combine flour, water, and sugar in a mixing bowl. mix well.
- cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
- take it out and stir (watch out for steam!) well with a wet wooden spoon. keep a glass of water next to you to dip the spoon in, so nothing sticks to it.
- cover again and microwave for another 4-5 minutes on high.
- sprinkle cornstarch on the countertop, then dump out the hot mochi mix on it. sprinkle more cornstarch on top.
- let it cool.
- meanwhile, melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler. you can add cream, but i don’t.
- when the chocolate is melted, dip the raspberries in it, one by one. place them on parchment paper and move them to the fridge to set. you need parchment paper so the chocolate covered raspberries don’t stick to your dish.
- wait until the mochi mix is cool and the raspberries are set.
- cut chunks (size of a golf ball) off the mochi mix and stretch them out to the size of your palm.
- put one chocolate-covered raspberry in the middle and fold it together, pinching the edges closed. roll it into a smooth ball.
(you can wrap each mochi in plastic wrap and store them in the freezer)