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Sweet Kukicha Rice Balls

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These sweet rice balls are an excellent tea time snack.

Prep Time: 30 min.
Serving Size: serves 12-14
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 c. uncooked short grain rice
  • 2 c. hot water
  • 4 tsp. kukicha┬átea leaves
  • 1/2 c. finely minced dried apricots
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
Directions
Brew tea in water and steep 5 min. Strain.
Put rice and 1 3/4 c. brewed tea in a pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a light simmer for about 15-20 min. until liquid is absorbed.
Fluff rice with a fork when done, and let rest for a moment.
In a small saucepan, toss apricots, sugar, and 2 tbsp. brewed tea over medium-high heat, giving them a light mash. As soon as the fruit becomes glossy, take it off the heat. Let sit until cool enough to handle. Shape loosely into teaspoon sized rounds.
After suitably cooled, start forming the rice into balls. The ratio is about 2 tbsp. rice to 1 tbsp. fruit filling. I recommend measuring out 1 tbsp. at a time and flattening them slightly. Place 1 filling between the 2 tbsp. rice and begin rolling into a ball.



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