How To Make Mochi

A few of years ago, at a dinner party, a friend from Laos brought mochi ice cream, and I fell in love with Mochi (pronounced moh chee). This bite-sized snack was the perfect size and shape, and I loved how soft and chewy it was.

Since then, I’ve seen as mochi’s popularity has skyrocketed in the United States, and now I can find it in the freezer section of nearly every supermarket I visit. We’ve been buying mochi ice cream in bulk from Costco and eating it every night for dessert, so my kids have become big fans of the treat.

How To Make Mochi

What Exactly is Mochi?

Mochi, a type of Japanese rice cake, can be found in both sweet and savoury iterations.  Mochitsuki refers to the more tedious technique of heating sweet sticky rice and then pounding it to form mochi (little glutinous rice cakes), a staple of the Japanese New Year celebration.

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These mini rice cakes, a simplified take on the traditional mochi, are created by microwaving or steaming sticky rice flour.

What Goes Into Making Mochi:

  • Glutinous rice flour
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cornstarch (or potato starch) – to help with the stickiness of the dough.

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Recipe for Mochi:

  1. Roll ice cream into balls and freeze them: Spread some parchment paper out on a baking sheet. Quickly roll ice cream into balls and set them on the parchment paper using a small ice cream scoop. If you want your ice cream to sit flat on your cookie sheet after being scooped, pack it securely in the scooper. Put in freezer for hour.
  2. For the mochi: In a microwave-safe bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and powdered sugar. Just add water and blend it in well. Mochi dough can be cooked in the microwave for 1 minute with plastic wrap covering the bowl. To avoid the mixture from sticking to your spatula, wet it before each fold. Return to the microwave, covered, for another minute.  After 30 additional seconds in the microwave, fold the dough once more.  If after 30 seconds in the microwave the mochi still doesn’t look sparkly, heat it for another 30.
  3. Flatten out a rectangle of mochi dough: Spread out a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle it with cornflour. Carefully avoid touching the mochi dough as you scrape it out of the bowl and onto the parchment paper with a rubber spatula.  Roll the dough ball in cornflour and dust the top.  The mochi dough should be rolled out into a huge rectangle, about 14 inch thick.  Dust the top of the dough with cornflour as needed when rolling to prevent sticking.  Roll out the dough, place it on a sheet of parchment paper, and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Stuff ice cream into mochi: Take the dough out of the fridge and use a biscuit cutter to stamp out rounds (approximately 3 inches in diameter). Pinch the dough around the ice cream, so your circles are large enough to do so.  Carefully remove the cornflour from the top of one dough disc by brushing it with a dry pastry brush.  Place one scoop of ice cream in the centre of the mochi (refrigerate the remaining scoops to prevent melting) and carefully press the dough around the ice cream.  Mochi can be made airtight by pinching its edges. Put the mochi on a square of plastic wrap and draw the four corners together, twisting the wrap securely at the top.
  5. Freeze: Mochi should be refrozen with the plastic wrap side down, as it was originally stored. Use the rest of the dough and ice cream to make more treats. Mochi ice cream should be refrozen for at least an hour before consumption. You may keep it in the freezer for up to three months if you wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. You should let the dough thaw for a few minutes before eating it.