Art of Cooking: Japanese Mochi

Mochi is a delicious, soft yet chewy treat made of rice paste and commonly eaten in during the Japanese New Year. Along with its quirky fashion, bizarre game shows, innovative design and unique art – Japan is a country with originality and creativity distinctly its own.

This also applies to the cuisine, while sushi and sashimi has made its way to the US becoming an all-time favorite especially for those living on the coast, Japan also has a unique dessert called mochi or mochisuki that is less commonly found on your everyday sushi restaurant menu but can be store bought or made at home!

Mochi is made of short-grain rice, traditionally, this Japanese treat is pounded into a paste and then molded into a rounded shape. Modern preparation consists of using flour of a sweet rice mixed with water and cooked on a stove top. I’ve heard this process is performed twice and requires some special appliances to make at home to ensure the malleability of the dough.


However, here is a simple mochi recipe you can try at home.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup mochiko sweet rice flour – glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • katakuriko – potato starch for dusting

How to Make Mochi:

Mix rice flour and sugar in a microwaveable bowl, add water and mix.  Cover it with plastic wrap and microwave for 4 minutes. Mochi should be a more pliable consistency but will be hot. Allow it to cool down a little before scooping some out with your hands and molding into your desired shape. Dust with potato starch to prevent sticking and place on cellophane. Put in the fridge or freezer.

If you want to add filling in the middle, add it before you dust by flattening the microwaved paste separating into individual pieces (based on your desire size, a bite size is best) and adding about a teaspoon of filling to each, then closing the edges by pinching them on the top or on the sides.You can also add a few drops of food coloring or flavoring into the paste for a color variation.

My favorite is the red bean mochi especially after its been frozen. Mochi is commonly eaten on the Japanese New Year but can be eaten all year around.