Easy mochi

Mango mochi

Mochi (pronounced moe-chee) is a glutinous rice dish from Japan. At home, my mother would prepare a simplified version in the microwave and fill each mochi ball with an Asian-style filling – like red bean – before covering the entire thing in sweet flaked coconut.

Let me be the first to say that mochi is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who like its addictive sticky, sweet and chewy texture, it’s a bite of pure heaven.

You may have seen mochi, cut into delicate little white pillows, as a topping when you buy frozen yogurt, but there are an endless number of flavours to try, including green tea, strawberry and coconut. I like to keep things simple, so my favourite flavours are plain and mango. If you’re fortunate enough to live near an Asian market, look for mochi ice cream in the freezer section. It makes a great summertime dessert.

If you want to make the mango mochi pictured above, use mango juice instead of water. Here’s what you need to make your very own mochi at home.

1 cup glutinous (sweet) rice flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1 cup water or mango juice (for mango mochi)
Potato starch for dusting

In large microwave-safe bowl, whisk together rice flour, sugar and salt. Whisk in water (or mango juice) until well combined. Cover with plastic. Microwave on high until mixture has set on sides, but is still liquid in centre, about 2-1/2 minutes. Uncover and whisk until smooth. Cover and microwave until mixture is translucent, about 3 minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Scrape onto work surface floured with potato starch. If your mochi becomes too sticky, dust it with extra starch. This will give your mochi that dusty look. If you don’t want to use potato starch you can always cover the outside of your mochi with flaked coconut.

Mochi tastes best when consumed the same day it is made. This recipe makes a small batch, perfect for six people.

To make small mochi pillows:

Divide dough into quarters. With lightly (potato) starched hands, roll each quarter into log; divide logs into quarters. Gently roll and shape each quarter into a 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick rope. With sharp knife, cut each rope into 1/2-inch (1 cm) pieces.

To make stuffed mochi:

Divide mochi into 12 portions. Roll and press each portion into a flat round disc, dusting with potato starch as necessary. Let cool completely. Place filling, such as cubed fruit or red bean paste, in centre of each disc. Fold mochi over filling and pinch ends together. Roll into ball and place seam-side down on platter.

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