Mochi is the name for any type of cake that is made from pounded glutinous rice, and there are hundreds of varieties. It’s quite common to see it being made the traditional way at new year festivals, and you can find videos online of it being made that way. It’s very impressive to watch, as one guy puts his hand under the hammer to turn the dough, while the other one hits it. This is a modern version, easy to make at home, and you can fill them with whatever you want. The texture of mochi can be quite unusual at first to the western palate, as we don’t have many foods that have the same chewy yet melt in the mouth texture. These are often enjoyed with matcha tea, or given as gifts.
How to make Mochi
Makes: about 18 pieces
Time to prepare: 35 minutes
100g caster sugar
25g glucose syrup
100g glutinous rice flour
100g rice flour for dusting
30g matcha powder
360g red bean paste* or chocolate ganache
*you can buy this in Asian shops
round metal cutter (about 90mm diameter)
2 small bowls
1. Put the sugar, glucose, and water in a pan, and bring it to the boil. Whisk to dissolve the sugar.
2. While it’s still boiling, add the rice flour to the pan, then immediately take off the heat, and whisk vigorously. You really need to beat it hard and fast, to make sure you don’t get any lumps, as rice flour instantly becomes sticky.
3. Once you have mixed it and all the flour is incorporated, dust the surface of your table with a lot of rice flour. Pour the rice dough on top of the flour using a spatula, and then pour more rice flour on top. Pat it down with your hand to spread it out a little. It will feel like a giant warm jelly. Leave it to cool slightly for about 10 minutes.
4. Then roll it out using a rolling pin, making sure you have a lot of rice flour underneath. You will be surprised how much rice flour you need to roll it, as the rice mix is very stretchy and sticky. Roll it out to about 4mm thick.
5. Cut the dough into discs, about 90mm wide, using a metal cutter or rim of a glass. You can re-roll the rest of the dough very easily, so keep going until you have used all the mix. Put the discs on a tray with baking paper, then dust them all with matcha powder.
6. Next roll the red bean paste (or chocolate ganache) into balls, about 3cm in size, or 20g each. Put these on a tray with baking paper in the fridge for 10 minutes to make sure they are nice and firm.
7. Pick up a disk of the rice mochi dough, and place the red bean ball in the centre. Carefully wrap the dough around it and join it at the other side by squeezing it together with your fingertips. Be careful not to rip the dough while doing this.
8. Then cut the end flat where you joined it using scissors.
9. Dip the finished mochi into matcha powder again, to make sure there are no sticky bits showing. The roll it gently in your hand so it becomes a nice round shape.
10. Repeat the process with the rest of the balls, and store then in the fridge until you want to serve them.