Mochi crush

So, a few years ago my friend Min taught me to make this mochi-esque dessert/snack/treat: Mix sweet/sticky/glutinous rice flour with enough water to make a batter with the consistency of heavy cream. Pour that onto a buttered flat plate or flat form so that you have a nice large 1/8" or 1/4" flat pool of batter. Microwave or steam (microwaving is vastly faster for me) for a minute or two, watching carefully. The batter is cooked when it has changed from bright opaque white to a more translucent white/pearly grey. Heat a tablespoon or so of red bean paste for 10 seconds (in the micro) or so, just to soften it, and spread carefully on the mochi. Roll up, and then slice into 3/4" or so pieces. Roll each of these around in a little bowl of unsweetened coconut flakes (toasted their even nicer). So, this is super yummy. Recently I learned about a more Japanese-style mochi where you combine a generous half cup of the sweet/sticky/glutinous rice flour with *just* enough water to make a very stiff dough. It feels like a sort of silky playdoh when it's right, and I've found that it's easy to add too much water. I've fixed this by adding just a little water at a time, and really mixing it well with a fork. It starts out all crumbly, and with just a few more drops water begins to cohere properly. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Take a generous tablespoon's worth of dough and roll into a sphere, like a large marble. Repeat with the rest of the dough. I generally make 6 or 8 mochi with the above amount of flour. Using a spoon, drop each ball into the boiling water, and boil until the balls have risen to the surface, plus 2 or 3 minutes. Use a spider or a spoon to lift each mochi ball into a bowl. I like them with these toppings: A sweetened soy sauce: 2 T soy sauce with 1 t of sugar --both savory and sweet and delicious A mix of 1 T soy flour with 1 T raw or muscovado sugar (or regular sugar) Another fun thing to do is to take each ball (before boiling) and flatten in your hand. Make a little depression in the disk of dough and put a little ball of sweet red bean paste there. Just a tiny bit, like maybe the size of a pea. Carefully fold up the disk of dough to seal in the bean paste, and then roll the ball carefully. Boil like above. When I make these, I like making a little dimple in the ball with my finger. They come out very adorable with a little innie-bellybutton like spot, and then with a drizzle of maple syrup, just a tiny bit, oh my these are good. Another fun thing I did: I mixed a few drops of some beet water (water I saved from boiling up a mess of beets the other day) and made pink mochi. The colour was super cute, and there was no earthy odd beet flavor at all, just the pretty colour. I understand that there is a `dark syrup' that is traditional with Japanese mochi, and I'd love to learn to make that. Any ideas? In fact, any mochi tips, tricks, lore, topping ideas, etc. would be lovely. This is not exactly diet food, but it's the food I have a hot crush on right now. And in fact, I reckon in small portions as part of a diet otherwise low in sweets, well, it's not the worst thing in the world. :-)
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