To say that Easter is celebrated here in Singapore would be an overstatement. To say that it's recognized would be as well, and even more so.
Here, Good Friday is a public holiday, and one that everyone cherishes dearly because ... we get a day off. Here, propositions of egg-dyeing would be met with strange looks, seeing that the only form of dyed eggs would be these. Easter egg hunts are a foreign concept - the sole intriguing thing about eggs I've ever known would be the Kinder ones (you know, the ones which contain chocolate in one side and a toy in the other) which my friend used to give me. I admit, we must seem to be a rather boring bunch.
Well, in that case, everyone except bakeries.
Judging by the sheer number of hot cross buns on displays and stands, our enthusiasm would be blown up to horrendously large proportions. They're everywhere, assaulting the eyes by their variety and ubiquitous-ness. And despite my deep-seated dislike of marketing gimmicks capitalizing on traditional holidays...
I'm sorry for buying a half-dozen hot cross buns in a mad melange of colors (I kid you not) and flavors. Not to mention textures and smells. All finished within two days.
I'm sorry for surrendering to that innate desire we all have for HOT cross buns as well as giving in to the temptation upon seeing them rest most majestically under the warm glow of the bakery.
And most of all, I'm sorry for surrendering, for being unable to resist the lure of traditional holiday foods sold at outrageously up-marked prices. I've paid for it though - my pocket is way lighter by a couple grams (seeing as that's the weight of a bill).
That being said, enough on buns. Let's talk squares here. Mochi squares.
The love for mochi can be said to be an epic one, not unlike that of Romeo and Juliet (before they both decided to commit suicide. let's just ignore that bit.) It's sQuishy, chewy and tender. It binds, it contains, it causes the taste buds to implode upon the sheer force of their Qhewiness (squishy + chewy). Seriously. It sounds like that when you're speaking with a mouth full of this goodness.
Just like how companies take advantage of public holidays, I decided to capitalize upon the Qhewy qualities of mochi. Here, mochi binds the grains and everything else in squares, leaving the final product to be a rather bouncy mat of orange. It's sticky at first, but hardens slightly upon cooling, so don't be too worried it it's gooey. It's best enjoyed warm, but toast them lightly in the CONVENTIONAL OVEN and not the microwave oven. And on a baking sheet.
Here are some ideas for optimal enjoyment of the squares:
- eaten plain (duh!)
- with vanilla/rum and raisin ice cream
- chopped up as a topping for oatmeal
- with a generous dollop of nut butter on top
Carrot Cake Mochi Squares
time: 35 minutes / make time: 10 minutes / cook time: 25 minutes
makes 6-8 squares
to be continued.