If you are fortunate enough to have a local store that sells Asian groceries you may be able to purchase mochi, or Japanese rice cakes, in packets ready to use. Though these are convenient they are nowhere near as delicious as the fresh and fluffy ones you can make very simply at home.
We use them mostly in a family favourite, mochi cheese okonomiyaki.
Step 1: What You’ll Need
- Glutinous rice flour (1/2 cup) or glutinous rice grains to make your own. I got the rice from Walmart and the rice flour was ordered online (Walmart.com or Amazon) but you can get both from a grocery store if you are lucky.
- Water (1/2 cup)
- Microwave oven
- Microwave safe jug, bowl or dish with a lid
- Food processor, coffee grinder or mortar and pestle - only needed if making your own rice flour to start.
Step 2: Optional - Making Rice Flour
If you can’t get rice flour, or just want to make your own it’s pretty simple - you will need a food processor, coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle and biceps like Popeye! I used our trusty Thermomix.
The recipe only requires a half cup of rice flour (though you can easily scale up as required) and a bit extra for dusting but I chose an arbitrary amount of 250 grams, which works out to be a cup and a quarter, of rice grains to make handling easier and allow for spillages.
Grinding for approximately 2 minutes at a high speed gave a fine powder - you will want it to be as fine as the packaged product for best results, this resembles icing sugar or cornflour in texture. I checked after 2 minutes by rubbing between my fingers to make sure it was fine enough.
Once you have finished grinding, leave it a few seconds before opening the lid of your food processor to let the fine powder settle, otherwise you will have a fine dusting of rice flour across your kitchen surfaces - believe me, it travels further than you would think!
The cup and a quarter of rice grains gave about a cup and a half of rice flour.
Step 3: Make the Mix
For the recipe I need mochi for, I usually start with half a cup of rice flour into a microwave safe jug. To this I add an equal volume of cold tap water (half cup) and mix to get a lump free batter with the consistency of cream.
There is no reason you couldn’t scale up the quantities for a larger batch, just use equal volumes of rice flour and water. The cooking time may need to be adjusted slightly but I haven’t actually needed to try this.
Step 4: Cooking the Batch
Put a lid on the jug (plastic wrap would work just as well) and place in the microwave. I heat for 2 minutes on high in a 1000W oven.
When the time is up, leave the jug covered until the the mixture has cooled down enough to handle safely. In the meantime dust a surface with some extra rice flour, a clean work surface, cutting board or plate would all be fine.
Step 5: Finishing Up
Ease the solidified rice cake out of the jug onto the dusted surface, it can be pretty sticky at this stage however I have found that a silicone or plastic spatula usually gets most of the rice cake out cleanly enough - don’t worry about getting every last scrap.
Using more rice flour as necessary to dust your hands, a sharp knife and the work surface cut the cake into pieces as required, Please do not use ordinary wheat flour instead of rice flour as it makes the stickiness much, much worse - a lesson learned the hard way!
The mochi are now ready for use in your recipe such as okonomiyaki or can be grilled or pan fried and served with a dipping sauce.