How To Make Mochi (お餅) at Home

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two mochi image collage for pinterest pin with text overlay

I’m sure most people have heard of Mochi by now since it has become so popular worldwide. There’s a very clear reason why it’s so popular – because it’s so delicious! The simple and subdued flavour of mochi as well as its squishy soft texture make it compatible with nearly anything. You may have seen it most often wrapped around ice cream but in Japan it has many more uses in dishes, sweets, and traditions.

two tired kagami mochi decorated with mizuhiki and a orange ornament

Table of contents

What is Mochi?

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from Mochigome short-grain japonica glutinous rice, also known as sweet rice. It has been indispensable since ancient times in Japan at festivals as an offering of food for the gods, along with sake.

freshly made Japanese rice cake on a potato starch dusted tray

Why You Will Love This Mochi Recipe?

  • Requires only one ingredient
  • Easy to make
  • Vegan, vegetarian friendly and gluten-free

Special Ingredient Note

For making mochi, we need to use special rice called “Mochigome (mochi rice)” which is also known as sweet rice. It is short-grain Japonica glutinous rice. It is different from ordinary rice that is usually eaten as steamed rice with dishes such as Japanese curry rice. Comparing those two different type of rice – ordinary rice, which is called Uruchimai (Uruchi rice) is translucent whereas the glutinous rice is white and opaque. But the big difference is the type of starch it contains. Ordinary rice contains amylose and amylopectin but glutinous contains amylopectin only that makes the glutinous rice really sticky. Reference: The difference between mochigome & uruchimai[1]

Mochigome packet on the left and rice grains in a wooden container on the right

Where To Buy Glutinous Rice?

Glutinous rice is widely distributed in Southeast Asia and East Asia including Japan, where there is a habit of eating glutinous rice. So it is available from Japanese or Asian grocery stores. If you cannot access those grocery stores, It is available from online stores. Have a look at Chopstick Chronicles’ Amazon shop front[2].

How Japanese Mochi Is Made?

Japanese mochi is typically made in two days. On day one, wash the rice and let it soak overnight. If you are going to make mochi in the traditional Japanese way, you need a wooden mortar and wooden pestles. Those Mochitsuki (glutinous rice pounding) pieces of equipment need to be soaked in water too to prevent the wooden equipment from cracking or the rice sticking to the equipment. On the second day, steam the rice and pound the mochi dough. Then shape the dough while it is hot.

4 photo collage showing washing, soaking and draining sweet rice

How to Steam Glutinous Rice?

Traditional method with a Bamboo Steamer – line the steamer bottom with a tightly squeezed wet kitchen cloth. Drain the water and spread the rice over the lined steamer. Place the steamer over a pot of boiling water and steam it for 30-45 minutes. Instant pot – Add 2 cups of water in your instant pot and place steaming trivet provided with instant pot inside the inner pot. Place a bowl, lined with a tightly squeezed wet cloth with rice over it, on top of the trivet. Put the lid on making sure the steam releasing valve is in the sealing position. Press the “Steam” function button and set 45 minutes. Rice Cooker – Some rice cookers have a special function to cook sweet rice to make Sekihan or rice with other grains. Add the same amount of water as rice and follow your rice cooker’s instructions.

4 photo collage showing how to steam rice with bamboo steamer

Which Method To Pound The Mochi Dough?

Traditional method with wooden mortar and pestle – Discard the soaking water that you prepared the night before and fill the mortar with hot water while the rice is being steamed. Once the rice is steamed, empty the hot water which warmed the mortar, and place the steamed glutinous rice into the mortar. Using your body weight, press down on the rice with the pestle. Keep pounding the rice shifting and turning around with wet hands to pound evenly. When the mochi dough becomes a smooth texture, it is done.

Bread Machine & Stand Mixer – I used my bread machine’s kneading function. Steam the rice using whichever of the above methods, place the steamed rice into the machine, put lid on and press knead and set for 15-20 minutes.

4 photo collage showing pounding and kneading mochi dough with a bread machine

How to Serve Mochi?

Freshly made mochi is so delicious served up on its own. You can dip the mochi into sugary soy powder (Kinako) or you can serve it with grated Daikon and soy sauce. Also, accompany with Anko sweet azuki bean paste or wrap a ball of sweet red bean paste with mochi. They are all good to serve with Hojicha[3] and Matcha Latte[4] too.

Two bowls of sweet azuki bean paste

Kagami Mochi For New Years

Kagami mochi is two-tiered large and small round rice cakes decorated with bitter orange. Often made for a deity offering of new years. It is said that the round-shaped rice cake resembles a bronze mirror, which ancient Japanese believed the God dwelled in. Also, the round shape represents family harmony. Furthermore, the two-tiered appearance means to pile up fortune and grow older peacefully and the large and small sizes represent the moon and the sun, yin and yang.

Kagami decorated with bitter orange on top

Tips & Tricks

  • Find short-grain glutinous rice (mochigome) and soak it the night before pounding.
  • Shape it while it is hot
  • Use Mochitoriko (handling mochi flour) – Japanese use a generous amount of Katakuriko (potato starch) or cornstarch.
a large bowl of sweet rice soaked in water

How to Store Mochi?

Mochi does not contain anything but glutinous rice (mochigome), so it becomes hard. If you make small round mochi, wrap them individually with cling wrap when it cools down. Place them in a ziplock bag and keep them in the freezer. It will keep for a month. You can toast them from frozen to eat. If you did not shape it and just left as a big batch, then the next day when it is still not completely dried out, slice them about 0.4inch (1cm) thick and then individually wrap with cling wrap and keep them in the ziplock bag in the freezer.

Kanto style Ozoni mochi soup served in a Japanese soup bowl
Kanto Style Ozoni

FAQ

Q: Is mochi gluten free?

A: Yes

Q: Is mochi vegan?

A: Yes

Q: Does mochi contains eggs or dairy?

A: No, the only ingredient is Japonica short-grain glutinous rice (also known as sweet rice)

Q: Does mochi have gelatine?

A: No, the stickiness is due to its starch called amylopectin.

Stay Connected

If you like the recipe please rate the recipe and leave comments below. Also don’t forget to follow me on Youtube[5], Pinterest[6], Facebook[7], Twitter[8] and Instagram[9]. This way you keep up to date with all the latest happenings on Chopstick Chronicles. Don’t forget to Sign up for a weekly newsletter so you never miss out on new authentic delicious Japanese recipes! Sign up form is on the right-hand sidebar.

two tired kagami mochi decorated with mizuhiki and a orange ornament

Mochi

Mochi recipe making it at home without a mochi making machine with step by step photo instructions, tips and tricks, how to serve and store.

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Course: Breakfast, Rice dish, Snack

Cuisine: Japanese

Prep Time: 1 day

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 day 50 minutes

Servings: 1

Calories: 1027kcal

Cost: 1

Ingredients

Instructions

A night before pounding mochi

  • Wash the rice gently under running water, changing and draining the water a few times.

  • Soak the rice in the large bowl with plenty water overnight.

On the following day

  • Drain the soaking water.

  • Start boiling water in a pot. *3

  • Prepare a bamboo steamer with lining a tightly squeezed wet kitchen cloth on the bottom of the bamboo steamer.

  • Place the drained rice over the kitchen cloth making a dent in the centre like a donut shape in order for the steam to evenly and efficiently move around the rice.

  • Put the prepared steamer over the boiling water in the pot and steam for 30- 45 min.

  • Turn the heat off and empty the steamed rice into a bread machine. *4

  • Put the lid on and press “knead” and set for 20 minutes. *5

  • Remove the mochi dough onto a tray with generous amount of mochi-toriko (potato starch/cornstarch) dusted.

  • Shape into small mochi balls, or into nice round/rectangle/square shapes and slice it 0.4inch (1cm) thick the next day. *6

  • Serve with red bean paste, sweet soy bean powder, or with grated daikon and soy sauce. *7

Notes

*1 If you have a scale measure 300g, cup measurements are American cups. 
*2 This ingredient is not going into mochi but it is used for handling the sticky mochi dough. 
*3 I used a bamboo steamer method. See other ways to cook in the above post.
*4 Some Japanese bread machines have a function to make the entire process. If you have one of those, lucky! Just let the machine do the work.
*5 Setting time is an indication only. Each machine is different. When the dough is smooth without any visible rice grains, then it’s done.
*6 I shaped mine into one small (3-inch, 7.5cm diameter) and one large (4-inch, 10cm diameter) ball for the Kagamimochi.
*7 You can eat freshly made mochi with those suggestions or see other recipes using mochi in the post. 

Nutrition

Calories: 1027kcal | Carbohydrates: 227g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 214mg | Fiber: 8g | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 4mg

Chopstick Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

References

  1. ^ The difference between mochigome & uruchimai (www.echigoseika.co.jp)
  2. ^ Chopstick Chronicles’ Amazon shop front (www.amazon.com)
  3. ^ Hojicha (www.chopstickchronicles.com)
  4. ^ Matcha Latte (www.chopstickchronicles.com)
  5. ^ Youtube (www.youtube.com)
  6. ^ Pinterest (www.pinterest.com)
  7. ^ Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  8. ^ Twitter (twitter.com)
  9. ^ Instagram (www.instagram.com)
  10. ^ Print (www.chopstickchronicles.com)
  11. ^ Pin (www.pinterest.com)
  12. ^ Rate (www.chopstickchronicles.com)
  13. ^ Shihoko | Chopstick Chronicles (www.chopstickchronicles.com)

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