Mochi seems to be everywhere these days: as a topping at your local frozen yogurt shop, in ice cream balls (the green tea ones are heaven), and as colorful treats all over Instagram. It seems like mocha mania is in full force!
Traditionally, it takes quite a bit of effort to make homemade mochi. But the good news is that there are tricks to making equally delicious versions in your own kitchen that don't require the laborious methods of pounding and molding rice flour.
Read on to learn how to make plain mochi in a flash—and a couple additional rice flour desserts that are bound to make you a mochi mega-fan.
There are two main types of glutinous rice flour: shiratamako and mochiko. Both kinds can be used to make mochi and rice flour desserts, but there is a noticeable difference between the dough made from them: Shiratamako has a much smoother texture and is much more elastic, while mochiko has more of a doughy texture.
Mochi experts recommend shiratamako because of its more elastic texture and the fact that it doesn't dissolve in water as quickly. That said, mochiko is also a reasonable alternative if, like me, you can only find mochiko in your local market. (You can buy shiratamako online as well as mochiko if you don't mind waiting.) I'm happy to report that my mochi's texture still turned out chewy and delicious.
Mochi can be made in the oven, but there's an even quicker (and equally delicious) way to prepare it: in your good old microwave. Inspired by Nami from Just One Cookbook, here's how to do it:
- In a microwavable mixing bowl, mix the rice flour and sugar together.
- Add the water to the mixture.
- Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap (do not make the bowl airtight—it's important for air to be able to come through).
- Microwave for 1 minute and then stir.
- Place back in the microwave for 1 minute, and then stir again.
- Microwave for 30 more seconds and remove.
- On top of a large cutting board, place parchment paper, and pour all of the cornstarch on top of it.
- Place the mochi on top of the cornstarch and roll it out until it's ¼-inch thick.
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes for the mochi to set.
- Using kitchen shears, cut it into strips, then cut it into squares (the size depends on personal preference and for what you'll be using the mochi).
Once you have the mochi rolled out, you can easily use it to make daisuku (mochi with red bean paste filling). Here's how:
- rolled out mochi (see above instructions)
- 1½ c. red bean paste (can be bought pre-made in Asian markets or on Amazon)
- Using a round cookie cutter, or a large glass or small bowl turned upside down, cut out circles of mochi.
- Place 1 tablespoon of red bean paste in the middle of the circle.
- Gather the ends of the circle and pinch them together so the bean filling is no longer visible.
- Turn over and voilà: your daifuku is complete!
You can also use this same technique to make mochi ice cream balls. Just replace the red bean paste with your favorite ice cream flavor and freeze them for at least a couple hours.
For a variation on rice flour desserts, try this palitaw recipe inspired by Lindsay from Pinch of Yum. It combines the chewy texture of rice flour with the slight crunch of shredded coconut and a sprinkle of sugar for the perfect level of sweetness. So, so good.
- 4½ c. glutinous rice flour
- 2 c. water
- shredded coconut for coating
- sugar for coating
- Put a pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Mix the rice flour and water to create a thick paste.
- With your hands, make the mixture into balls (about the size of a golf ball).
- Place the balls into the boiling water.
- Cook until they float to the top (around 10 minutes).
- Let them cool for a few minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix the shredded coconut and sugar together.
- Dip the balls into the sugar/coconut mixture, making sure they are thoroughly coated.
- Enjoy and have one (or three)—you deserve it!
If these recipes didn't convince you to head over to your local Asian market to stock up on sweet rice flour to make mochi-inspired desserts, I'm not sure what will. Let us know in the comments below how your treats turned out!