- Jewish Learning
Mochi (rice cake) was once considered a sacred food in Japan. Now it is eaten all year round. When I traveled across Japan, I loved sampling many varieties of mochi: daifuku, warabimochi, sakuramochi—I can go into detail about each type, but then I’ll have to write a second book! Feel free to experiment with this recipe. Flatten the mochi dough into discs and then fill them with your favorite savory or sweet fillings, like ice cream. I know you’ll have so mochi fun. (Yes, I had to go there.)
Yields 8 pieces
1 cup (235 grams) water (or milk for a creamier mochi)
1 tablespoon (14 grams) butter, softened
1 tablespoon (5 grams) Gefen Cocoa Powder or (6 grams) matcha
1 tablespoon (20 grams) honey or (19 grams) sweetened condensed milk
In a frying pan, toast the cornstarch over medium-low heat for a few minutes to kill any bacteria. Spread evenly over a Gefen Parchment Paper-lined baking sheet. Add the confectioners’ sugar. You’ll use this later to coat the mochi.
Make the mochi. Whisk all the mochi ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl until combined and not lumpy. Microwave on high power for one to two minutes. Mix until evenly combined. Microwave for another minute and mix again. If there are any wet parts left, microwave for an additional minute. The mochi is ready when it is slightly translucent, cohesive, and evenly cooked. Add the butter and mix thoroughly.
Cover and cool until the mochi is no longer too hot to touch, about eight minutes.
Wear food-safe gloves. Knead and stretch the mochi for about 15 seconds. It’ll be sticky.
Transfer the mochi to the prepared baking sheet. Coat lightly with the cornstarch and sugar mixture.
Roll the mochi into a log. Divide the log into eight even pieces. Working one at a time, flatten each piece into a disc. Tuck the disc onto itself by pinching in the dough from all sides into the middle. This creates a round shape. Place the mochi ball seam-side down on the work surface. With your fingers cupping the mochi ball, roll in a circular motion to firmly shape the ball. You can also roll the ball between your palms. Note the mochi may flatten a bit and not hold its shape well without any filling, and that’s okay. Perfection is overrated anyway.
Place on a serving plate. Dust with matcha or cocoa powder. For added sweetness, drizzle with honey or condensed milk.
Store in an airtight container and eat within two days.
Recipe excerpted from Modern Asian Baking at Home : Essential Sweet and Savory Recipes for Milk Bread, Mochi, Mooncakes, and More; Inspired by the Subtle Asian Baking Community (Quarto 2022). Purchase on Amazon.
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