I’ve been semi-obssessed (if there’s such a thing) with mochi since highschool. I didn’t even know what it was back then. From what I remember, I once saw in the television this lady preparing a dessert with some kind of flour and cream, then cooking it in the microwave. The glutinous ball product looked enticing enough to eat and I’ve been wanting to make one since then. Of course, I was in the province, so there was no mochiko (the type of flour they used) and we also didn’t have a microwave oven back then, so I just forgot about it.
Fast forward to present time, I saw a box of chocolate mochi with peanut butter filling at the supermarket, and so the desire to make one which was held back years ago suddenly surged back. Months back, I was researching how to make mochi. I had my doubts with the microwave technique coz I was not so sure if it would ‘cook’ the flour so I searched for other options. I found one online which requires steaming the mochi paste instead of microwaving it. Sadly, it yielded an undesirable mochi, it was too oily and the mochi came out dry. There was also a baking technique but that resulted to a cassava cake-like consistency. So I gave up and totally forgot about it.
Then just last Friday, my officemates and I were talking about mochi ice cream and I remembered my unfinished conquest to mochi-land. And this time I thought of giving the microwave thingie a try. The result, well, I couldn’t be any happier. I should have trusted that lady!
For those who are unfamiliar with mochi, mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice. Traditionally prepared by pounding rice into a paste, it is now commonly prepared by using rice flour. Popular variations of mochi include daifuku which is a round mochi stuffed with sweet filling and mochi ice cream.
In the Philippines, the closest food that I could liken to mochi is tikoy. Both made from glutinous rice, tikoy and mochi almost have the same consistency. If we dig to a more local food, I’d say the espasol from Laguna and the Royal Bibingka from Ilocos are also quite similar.
Here’s my recipe:
For the red bean filling
You may use a store-bought paste, but since I have raw ingredients at home, I just made one. Here’s my recipe:
- 1/2 cup dry red beans
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 T honey
- 2 t vanilla
- In a pot over medium high heat, cover red beans with water and boil until soft and water has evaporated, around 30-45 minutes. Remove from fire.
- Mash red beans into a paste until smooth and creamy.
- Add sugar, honey and vanilla, stir to combine.
- Over medium high heat and stirring constantly, cook the paste until sugar has melted and paste has become drier, around 5 minutes. Remove from fire.
- Let cool for around 10 minutes and form into balls. This recipe will yield around 8-10 regular-sized balls.
For the mochi:
- 1 cup glutinous rice flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 t salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- cornstarch for dusting
- In a microwave-safe container, mix all ingredients to make a smooth batter/paste. It is important to note that there should be no lumps in the batter.
- Partially cover container and cook over medium-high in the microwave for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth.
- Return to microwave and cook once more for 2 minutes.
- Mix the dough vigorously for around 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. This process will give the mochi it’s signature chewiness consistency.
- Transfer to a flat surface dusted with cornstarch and form into a rectangle. Dust both sides with cornstarch.
- Equally cut the rectangle into 10 pieces.
- With hands also dusted with cornstarch, take a piece of the rice cake and flatten it into a circle.
- Add a piece of red bean ball into the middle of the rice cake and pull the edges together to cover the red bean ball. Seal by pinching the edges with your fingers like sealing a dumpling.
- Smoothen the mochi by rolling them between your palms.
- Dust lightly with cornstarch so that the balls won’t stick to each other.
- Keep in an airtight container.
Please note that the dough will get less and less flexible as it cools so try to work rather quickly. Also, mochi tends to harden within 24 hours, so it is advisable to make only what you can consume in such period of time.
What I really like about mochi is that the variety of flavors you can come up with is endless. You can even flavor your rice cake with green tea (Matcha) or cocoa. The next time I’m making mochi, my fillings would include peanut butter, Nutella (oh yes!) and ripe mangoes. I know for sure that the mango-filled mochi would be divine! I’m also gonna try filling them with ube halaya (purple yan jam) and chocolate truffles. Or how about dipping them in melted chocolate, or dusting them with dark cocoa powder? The sky’s the limit!