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Mochi - Traditional Rice Cakes from Japan

Mochi - Traditional Rice Cakes from Japan

Mochi or Daifuku Mochi refers to delicious small rice cakes, with Daifuku being a variant filled with sweet Anko. They are traditionally consumed during New Year and, when unfilled, served in a savory soup. Of course, Mochi is enjoyed throughout the year in Japan, leading to an incredible variety of tasty recipes. Daifuku Mochi can be filled with fruits, green tea, or even ice cream. The following post illustrates how the dough and filling are traditionally or modernly prepared and lists some of the most delicious Mochi recipes.

A mixture of glutinous rice and water - the basis for good mochi

No. of persons6 portionsNo. of persons
Total Timeca. 30 minutesTotal Time
Level of difficultyeasyLevel of difficulty
Caloriesca. 300kcal per portionCalories
Green mochi balls on a serving plate
List of ingredients for the dough
200g glutinous rice flour
150ml water
80g sugar (only for filled Daifuku Mochi)
potato starch
food coloring as required
Kochende Miss Oryoki
Step 1

Mix the ingredients together thoroughly and then place in a non-stick pan. Heat everything over a medium heat, turning and kneading the mixture repeatedly with a wooden spatula. Over time, the mixture will become firmer and more rubbery. When it no longer comes away from the wooden spatula, transfer it to a cake board that has been floured with the potato starch. Now you have to be quick: The dough is rolled out flat and cut into about ten pieces and shaped into small balls. The traditional mochi are now ready and can be served in a soup or simply on their own.

Step 2

Filled rice cakes are called daifuku. For these, the pieces are formed into round slices and topped with the fruit or bean paste. Fold the ends of the slices over the filling and either twist them together or press them together in sections with your fingers, as with tortellini or dumplings. The dough must still be warm so that it can be successfully joined and shaped. If your hands are sensitive to heat, you can protect yourself with special silicone gloves, which are also used by confectioners and pastry chefs for their work.

Recipe for the filling from Anko

Traditionally, sweet Japanese rice cakes are filled with a mixture of Anko and sugar. This mixture is also called "Japanese marzipan" and can be easily made at home.

List of ingredients
200g Red beans (Japanese adzuki beans)
200g sugar
Step 1

Wash the adzuki beans thoroughly. Bring one liter of drinking water to the boil and cook the beans in it for about five minutes. Drain. Place the pre-cooked red beans on the stove with another 600 ml of cold water and bring to the boil again. Simmer gently over a medium heat for approx. 40 to 45 minutes, making sure the beans are always covered with the cooking water. If necessary, add a little hot water from time to time.

Step 2

They are cooked when they are soft and can be easily mashed between your fingers or with a spoon. Set the pot aside for five minutes. Then drain the cooking water and add half the sugar to the red beans. Reheat everything over a moderate heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Step 3

Then add the remaining sugar and dissolve as well. As soon as the mixture no longer comes off the spoon, remove the pan from the heat. Leave to cool and then puree finely with a hand blender.

Recipe 1: traditional daifuku

For traditional Mochi in the form of Daifuku, the dough and bean filling are prepared in Japan as described in the recipe above. They pair excellently with a cup of green tea or as a dessert with sushi.

Recipe 2: Ichigo Daifuku with strawberries

In this Japanese recipe, the Mochi rice cakes are filled with whole strawberries. Wash and clean the strawberries beforehand. In the small cavity under the cut stem, you can fill it with some Anko paste. The strawberries are completely wrapped in the sticky rice dough. They pair well with ice cream, mint leaves, or a fine fruit puree.

Mochis filled with strawberry on a serving plate

Recipe 3: Matcha - Mochi

For Matcha Mochi, simply add a teaspoon of Matcha powder to the dough from the basic recipe. They can be prepared with or without bean filling, sweet, or more savory.

Recipe 4: Rice cake with ice cream filling

Mochi ice cream is a modern food trend that allows for a lot of experimentation. The rice cake dough is made as in the basic recipe. It is filled with ready-made ice cream and then quickly placed in the freezer for about 2 hours. After that, you can enjoy the delicious mochi ice cream anytime and combine it with fruits or other treats.

Recipe for Sakura Mochi - Homage to the cherry blossom

No. of persons3 personsNo. of persons
Preparation timeca. 30 minutes Preparation time
Total Timeca. 15 minutes and 1 hour resting timeTotal Time
Level of difficultymiddleLevel of difficulty
Caloriesca. 350kcal per portionCalories
List of ingredients
100g rice flour
100g glutinous rice flour
100g sugar
175ml water
1 tsp matcha
5 drops japanese sakura essence (cherry blossom essence)
12 small bamboo skewers
red food coloring
Kochende Miss Oryoki
Step 1

Make a dough from the flour, water and sugar and divide it into three parts. Mix one part with the teaspoon of matcha. Mix the second part with a few drops of the red food coloring and the sakura essence. The third part remains white. Now form 12 balls of the same size from the mochi dough. Bring approx. 2 liters of tap water to the boil in a large pan and then simmer gently. Provide ice water.

Step 2

First add the white dough balls to the boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse briefly in ice water. Then leave to dry on kitchen paper. Next, cook the pink balls and finally the green balls in the same way. Once they are all ready, place them on the bamboo skewers in the order green - white - pink and serve. They are best eaten fresh, but can also be stored at room temperature in a closed box for one to two days. The rice hardens when stored in the fridge.

Buying ready-made Daifuku Mochi - where to buy?

Ready-made mochi can be purchased at many Asian stores. They are available either pre-packaged in a kind of praline packaging or as frozen goods. The unfrozen mochi doesn't taste quite as good; they are a bit firmer than freshly prepared or frozen rice cakes.

When thawing frozen mochi, be careful not to let them become sticky. It's best to take them completely out of the package while still frozen and place them on a plate or a silicone mat. Allow them to thaw slowly in the refrigerator or a bit faster at room temperature. When thawing in the microwave, proceed with caution, choosing a very low power setting with a short time. Once they are soft, serve them as soon as possible; otherwise, the rice cakes will absorb moisture from the environment and become sticky.

Serving suggestions and suitable combinations

Depending on the recipe, mochi can be filled with anko paste, fruits, or other delicacies and are roughly the size of a flattened golf ball. They pair excellently as a dessert with sushi or other Japanese menus. However, these delicious Japanese rice cakes can also be served instead of cake with coffee (or, of course, afternoon tea).

The cakes can be cut into bite-sized pieces for serving. You can sprinkle them with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, or a touch of matcha powder. Fresh fruits, herbs like mint, or a scoop of ice cream go well with them. Compote, whipped cream, yogurt, or quark can also complement the rice cakes - just experiment and create new combinations! Good luck and enjoy your meal!

Japanese recipes read in the magazine »
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