This post was sponsored by Fruits From Chile. All thoughts and opinions are my own
If you didn’t get it right with your new year’s resolutions this month, don’t worry. There’s another new year coming up on February 5th 2019 and you can start anew! With the Lunar new year just around the corner, I thought these Mochi Balls filled with lacto fermented organic Chilean Blueberries would be perfect to ring in the new year and provide a second opportunity to become healthier and kinder to one’s body and mind.
So we all know how naturally fermented foods provide healthy probiotic bacteria. Stuff that’s good for our gut. Studies have shown that the natural probiotics created from fermentation also increases vitamin content thereby boosting our immunity naturally which helps fend off the flu and cold. (source) Consuming fermented foods are also safer to consume than raw as the lactic acids essentially kill off the bad bacteria such as E-Coli. (Source) And it has been proven time and again that improving gut health aids digestion thereby helping promote healthy body weight. It doesn’t stop here. There are a plethora of reasons lacto fermented foods are good for us.
Blueberries AKA Superfood:
Considered to be a “superfood”, blueberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants which research suggests works to reduce DNA damage, potentially protecting against cancer, helping with brain function and memory maintenance, and even has been thought to lower blood pressure (Source). Other research suggests that blueberries help to prevent cataract formation and cloudiness in the eyes (Source). And now researchers are even looking into connections regarding Alzheimers prevention (Source). In fact, I could write an entire series on why blueberries are good for us. But ultimately, for me, blueberries are delicious and beautiful.
Although I do strive to purchase local produce, the reality is I live in Canada where a quarter of the year is a deep freeze. Strawberries can be grown in hothouses throughout the Leamington greenhouse strip but blueberries are unique. It could take several years before a blueberry bush could bear fruit, making blueberry production in greenhouses very costly here during the winter months. Not to mention the unique soil blueberries require to thrive and grow.
Chile on the other hand has ideal conditions to supply us with summer fruit now because when it’s winter here, it’s summer there! Being the second longest country in the world, the landscape and climates are vast and rich. It’s said to be an agricultural paradise, as with fertile, nutrient dense growing grounds for blueberries amongst other exceptional fruits and berries to thrive. Other summertime fruit that we import from Chile at this time of year includes grapes, plums, peaches and nectarines.
To celebrate the new year and the final cycle of the 12 zodiac signs (year of the pig), these Mochi Balls with blueberries from Chile are packed with antioxidants, and gut therapy that are not only healthy and gluten free but utterly delicious.
“Gong hei fat choy” or “Gong xi fa cai”
Wishing you great happiness and prosperity! Happy Lunar New Year to you and your loved ones.
For more information about Fruits from Chile or recipe ideas, go to https://fruitsfromchile.info
Follow Fruits of Chile on:
- 300 grams or 5.2 ounces or 2 heaping cups of fresh organic Chile blueberries
- 50 grams ¼ cup white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- *2 tablespoons of whey or ½ teaspoon of starter culture
- 1 cup fresh filtered watered
- 230 grams or about 2 cups mochiko flour (also known as sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour)
- 200 grams 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 90 grams or ¾ cup sesame seeds (toasted or non-toasted…both work)
- ½ cup or 60 grams (+ more if required) of Corn Starch for rolling
- Take a clean glass jar and pack the blueberries tightly in jar.
- In a small bowl, mix the whey, sugar and salt and 1 cup filtered water and pour over the blueberries.
- Take your hand and press the berries down gently to release any air pockets.
- Make sure all the berries are submerged in the water. Use a fermentation weight or a sanitized stone to make sure berries are all below the waterline (I’ve used a small ceramic espresso cup too!)
- Close lid on tightly and allow the berries to ferment 24-48 hours at room temperature.
- Berries are ready once you see a few bubbles forming and the lid should pop open as if it were sealed from all the gas buildup.
- Once the berries have fermented, it’s ready to become the filling for the mochi balls.
- Place a sieve over a bowl and separate the Chilean blueberries from the liquid. Make sure you save this liquid!
- Take the Chilean blueberries and pulse in food processor/juicer/blender for about 30 seconds into a puree.
- Sieve the blueberries using a spatula or spoon to help it through a sieve and into a bowl (don’t throw the seeds and skins left in the sieve.
- Set aside the jelly like blueberry puree.
- Over a bowl, pour the liquid that came from the jar through the sieve with all the skins and seeds. The liquid will collect all the rich colours from the skins and turn into a rich dark purple. Sieve the liquid at least 4 times or more. You should be left with a little less than a cup of liquid. Set aside.
- In a food processor, blend the sesame seeds until a crumbly paste begins to form.
- Stir together the Chilean blueberry puree and the sesame seed paste until combined and set aside. This will be the filling for the mochi balls.
- Bring a large steamer to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a heat proof bowl that will fit into your steamer, whisk the sweet rice flour and sugar until combined.
- Using a wooden spoon, slowly add about ½ of the blueberry liquid to the flour and work into the dough until crumbly.
- **Add a tablespoon at time until the dough becomes cohesive. DO NOT put too much liquid as this can make your dough runny after it’s been steamed and impossible to work with.
- The dough should be similar to firm pizza dough…slightly sticky yet mouldable.
- Steam with the lid covered with a kitchen towel for 18 minutes stirring mixture halfway through.
- While the dough is steaming, generously dust cornstarch on a large sheet of parchment paper about 15 x 18 inches.
- The dough has finished steaming once it becomes similar to the consistency of pâte a choux or a very, very thick cake batter or very thick porridge.
- Dump the dough out onto the cornstarch covered parchment paper. Take a sieve and dust some more cornstarch all over the top of the dough until the entire surface has been covered.
- Take a rolling pin covered with cornstarch and roll dough out to about 15 x15 inches and about ¼ cm thick all the while dusting more cornstarch on the sticky spots.
- Slide onto a tray or baking tray and pop in fridge for 10-12 minutes. This will chill the dough and make it easier to work with.
- Cut the mochi with a 3.5 inch biscuit cutter and place on another sheet of parchment paper.
- Take the remaining dough and re-roll and cut. Should yield about 15 wraps.
- Hold a mochi disc in one hand and scoop about 1 tablespoon of the fermented Chilean blueberry sesame seed filling. Gather and pinch the wrap together to seal.
- Then dust the sealed mochi ball with more cornstarch with a pastry brush.
- Do this to all 15 mochi wraps.
- Enjoy same day or store in an air tight container for up to 24 hours at room temperature making sure the mochi balls are not touching one another.
- Place at least 2 cups of whole organic plain yogurt (not greek) on the towel and let it drain for a couple hours.
- Pull up the towel ends and rig it to a kitchen cupboard door and have gravity help the whey drip into the bowl faster. You can also rig it up to the kitchen faucet with the bowl in the sink
- Refrain from squeezing the cloth as the yogurt solid will weep through the kitchen towel
- Wait at least another 6 hours, you should get about 1 cup of liquid whey. Store in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.