How to Make Mochi
Samples of Mochi - A variety of shapes, sizes, colors, flavors
Make Mochi Not War
Will loved to eat at the local Japanese-buffet located close to our home. One day the owners put out a new dessert and, being of an adventurous nature, Will put several on his plate. When I asked what they were, he told me they weren't labeled but he wanted to try them anyway. To his surprise, the sightly sweet, "squishy" dessert was delicious and it became his favorite delicacy.
But alas, all good things must come to an end. One night we pulled into the parking lot and found it deserted. The owners had closed their doors and my husband's days of eating the treat came to an end. I never found out what the stuff was, Will lamented. But, I'm going to find it again. Someday. And for the next 11 years, he searched. Anytime we ate at a Japanese restaurant or buffet, Will asked about his beloved dessert ... without any luck.
But his perseverance and diligence paid off.
We had just moved to a new area and decided to eat at a local restaurant. Upon finishing, we got in the car but before we drove out of the lot Will noticed at a small building by the exit. Look, he pointed, an Asian Market. Let's go check it out.
We perused through the aisles, staring at packages of fish jerky and jellied 'somethings' when my husband stopped and grabbed a small package. There, on a refrigerated shelf, were rows and rows of a biscuit size cake labeled Mochi.
Will picked up the package and, to my horror, stuck his finger in the cake and started squishing. I hope you're planning on buying that, I said as he whooped and danced around the aisle. Famous last words.
The owner of the shop, also a mochi lover, eyed Will as he placed his 34 packages on the checkout counter. (I was hiding behind him in mortification.) I wasn't surprised at her question.
You like Mochi? the lady asked. Her name tag said Keiko.
Like what? Will responded as he ripped open a package and shoved 5 of the small cakes in his mouth.
Keiko rolled her eyes and turned to me. You cook? she asked. And while Will devoured another three packages of mochi, she told me about the rice cake and asked if I wanted a recipe.
I looked at the receipt. $64 dollars for mochi?? At this rate, I'd be spending a couple hundred on pre-packaged mochi unless I learned how to make the dessert myself. I looked at her and nodded. Will opened his 10th package and offered one to Keiko. She popped one of Will's cakes in her mouth and began talking.
Mochi, also called chapssalddeok in Korea, is a sweet rice cake. It's normally eaten during the Japanese New Year to symbolize good health and fortune. It can be made with or without filling and can also be flavored with a spice of the taster's choosing.
- 1 cup Glutinous Sweet Rice Flour
- 1 cup Water
- 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar (if you like it sweeter, use 3/4 cup)
- Optional: 1 tsp. Food Coloring
- Optional: Flavoring (Lemon, Almond, Green Tea, etc)
- Corn starch
- Cookie sheet
- Saran Wrap
- Microwave-safe Bowl
- Bowl of cool water
- Food Brush
1. Cover the cookie sheet with a thin layer of corn starch (this keeps the dough from sticking and allows for pliability and movement with the dough.)
2. Combine the 1c. glutinous sweet rice flour, the 1c. water and the 2/3c. granulated sugar in the microwavable bowl. Stir the ingredients together until mixed, then cover the bowl in Saran Wrap. Cover tightly and make as air-tight as possible.
3. Microwave the ingredients 2 - 3 minutes or until the mix is solid. If the mixture is still runny, microwave for another 30 seconds at a time until firm.
4. Take the bowl out of the microwave and carefully remove the wrapping. Pour the contents on the corn starch-covered cookie sheet.
5. BEFORE TOUCHING THE MIXTURE, dip your hands in the cool water. (This keeps your hands from sticking to the dough.) Allow dough to cool slightly then pat the dough until it's 1 inch thick. Let the dough sit three minutes.
6. After three minutes, dip your hands in the water again and flip the dough. Use your brush and dust any excess corn starch from the dough.
7. Dust corn starch on a knife and cut the dough into bite sized pieces (1 to 2 inch squares). Leave in the square shape or (dip your hands in water and) roll the squares into balls and slightly flatten.
Optional Step 8. Use fresh fruit or red bean paste for filling. Take your square or ball and roll it flat. Put the fruit / paste in the middle and connect the dough back together, pinching the ends together.
Recipe yields 10 - 20 pieces, depending on the size of the cakes.
I closed up my notebook and thanked Keiko for all her advice - and the recipes. And as I dragged my very full, groaning husband to the car, Keiko followed behind with the last 4 mochi packages.