Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Every year around this time, I get a yearning for mochi, that bland, sticky dough made by pounding glutionous or sweet rice into a paste. Mochi (or omochi) is traditionally eaten instead of rice during the New Year holidays (which lasts until the 7th in Japan traditionally), since it can be dried into long-keeping cakes that can be reconstituted easily. Although commercial dried mochi cakes are available at any Japanese grocery store and can’t be beat for convenience, freshly made mochi is a very different thing - softer, stickier, with the natural sweetness of the rice coming through.

I have thought off and on about getting a mochi tsuki ki or mochi making machine, for years. These things are available in Japan nowadays for around 10,000 to 25,000 yen. But it would be expensive and heavy to haul one over from Japan, and here in Europe, where rice cookers have only now started to become widely available, mochi machines are not not going to be stocked at my local kitchen-appliance store any time soon. And talk about a single-purpose appliance! A mochi making machine works similarly to a bread machine - in fact, the first bread machines (called “home bakeries” in Japan) were developed based on the kneading action of mochi making machines. But, I don’t own a bread machine either, and I am not that eager to get one. Besides, I am not sure of the motor of an average bread machine is strong enough to deal with the strong stickiness of pounded rice. There are combination bread and mochi making machines available in Japan, but they are either expensive or have mediocre reputations. Plus, there’s that problem of hauling one over from Japan.

I’ve tried making mochi in a food processor - once. That didn’t work out well. The mochi didn’t have time to turn into a sticky, smooth mass before the motor of the food processor overheated. The sticky mass had a tendency to want to climb into the middle of the food processor too.

I even tried making mochi by pounding the grains in a mortar and pestle. That took so long to make a tiny amount, that it wasn’t worth it. And again, it was very hard to get the mochi smooth yet sticky/strong enough for my liking.

Sure, I could make a mochi of sorts from mochiko or rice powder. That yields mochi that is very smooth - but, for me, lacking in body, not to mention that freshly cooked sweet-rice taste. Also mochi dango (see mitarashi dango) have a different texture from fresh mochi. Yes, I’m particular.

So my homemade fresh mochi plans lay dormant for years…until recently, when I finally got a KitchenAid stand mixer. I am not anti-appliance per se, but I tend to really procrastinate a lot about introducing new machinery into my kitchen. I was never sure that I could justify the space a stand mixer would take up - could I not knead dough by hand, mix cookie dough in the food processor, beat eggs with my handheld beater? Besides, here in Europe KitchenAid, the brand I wanted, is way more expensive than they are in the U.S. But a couple of months ago, one of my local electronics stores had the KitchenAid Artisan models on sale. I couldn’t resist. And so, a sexy white model entered my life. Why did I wait so long? I’ve named my KitchenAid Agatha, and when my still-in-development kitchen is finally in place, she will occupy pride of place there.

The beauty of a KitchenAid mixer is its super sturdy motor. You can leave it on to mix and knead for far longer than you can a food processor, and it won’t overheat. This, I sensed, would be the key to making mochi that was sticky and smooth. And so it was. Making fresh mochi is now so easy that I barely have to think about it. It’s easier than kneading bread, almost as easy as mixing up a batch of cookie dough.

Besides a mixer, having a rice cooker will make the whole process even easier. (I always thought that mochi rice had to be steamed, so discovering that it could be made in a rice cooker with no fuss was a revelation too.) If you do, and you have some sweet or glutinous rice on hand, you could have freshly made mochi in 2 hours from now.

Recipe: Fresh mochi with a food processor and rice cooker

This makes enough fresh mochi to feed at least 4 people, if not more.

  • 3 rice-cooker cups short grain, sweet or glutinous rice or mochi rice. To make this as clear as possible: You cannot use regular Japanese rice (aka ‘sushi’ rice), long grain rice, basmati rice, arborio rice, etc. You must use short grain or mochi rice. (See Looking At Rice.)
  • 3 rice-cooker cups water
  • Toppings of your choice - see below

Equipment suggested: A food/stand mixer such as a KitchenAid with a sturdy motor, a rice cooker, a fine-mesh sieve or colander

Wash the rice a few times (see Japanese rice basics for the method) in several changes of water. Leave to drain for at least half an hour in a sieve or colander.

Put the rice in the bowl of a rice cooker with the 3 cups of water. (Note that the rice to water ratio is 1:1, which differs from the ratio recommended for regular Japonica rice.) Set your rice cooker to cook the rice in one hour, if it has a timer. If it doesn’t have a timer, let the rice soak in the water for about half an hour before switching the cooker on.

When the rice is cooked, put it in the bowl of your mixer while it’s still hot with the dough hook attached. It’s important to start the kneading/beating while the rice is still hot for maximum stickiness and smoothness. Cool grains turn a bit hard.

ka-mochitsuki1.jpg

Keep kneading. I start out at the low speed, switch up to the high speed for a minute or two, then drop it down to mid-speed Most of the kneading is done at mid-speed, with a few bursts of high-speed thrown in.

Here is how it looks about 10 minutes in. It’s already pretty smooth, though there is still some graininess.

ka-mochitsuki2.jpg

After 20 minutes, the mochi is almost totally smooth. At this point the mochi has cooled down quite a bit, and kneading further doesn’t really get rid of the residual slight graininess. But no matter - when you eat it you will barely notice the grains. (I suppose that re-heating the mochi and re-kneading it might work, but it’s not worth the bother for me.)

ka-mochitsuki3.jpg

Wet your clean hands and pull small bits off the mochi mass to make balls. Here are a few mochi balls made from the freshly kneaded mochi. Smooth enough I think!

ka-mochitsuki4.jpg

If you want to keep the mochi for later use, put the mochi dough on a large piece of plastic wrap (just pouring it out stickily from the bowl should work). Wrap the mochi up with the wrap if you want to keep it soft. Alternatively, put the mochi dough on a surface covered with cornstarch or potato starch, cover with a dusting of more of the same, and leave to dry out a bit - a day should do it. Cut it into portions with a sharp knife, and wrap each portion with plastic wrap.

If you want to use fresh mochi in your New Years ozoni or ozouni soup, just drop the soft balls into the soup a couple of minutes before serving, so that they heat through. Don’t cook them longer than that or they will just melt into the soup!

Fresh mochi can also be used to make moffles - just plop the dough onto the waffle iron. When the surface cooks and crisps, the dough won’t stick to the iron.

Alternate way of cooking the rice, if you don’t have a rice cooker: steaming

Steaming mochi rice is the traditional way of cooking it, but it takes a lot longer. After rinsing the rice, put it in a bowl with plenty of water, and leave for several hours or over night. When you’re ready to cook it, drain off the water, line your steamer with a clean piece of cheesecloth or a cotton or linen kitchen towel, and spread the rice on it evenly. Steam the rice for 40 minutes until the grains are cooked through.

My favorite ways of eating freshly made mochi

I don’t try to make more mochi than will be consumed in one sitting, since it’s really best when it’s fresh. The best way to deal with fresh mochi is to make whatever you plan to mix with the mochi beforehand ready in a bowl or plate, and to dump the mochi balls you pull off the dough mass with wet hands directly onto that.

Here’s one of my favorite ways to eat fresh mochi: with mounds of grated daikon radish and a little soy sauce. The sharp freshness of the daikon radish counteracts the stickiness of the mochi perfectly, and also makes it easier to digest (or so they say).

mochi-daikonoroshi.jpg

Here’s my other favorite way: with natto! I chop up some green onion, mix with natto and soy sauce, and drop the mochi balls on that and mix. The sliminess of the natto goes so well with the slimy-stickiness of the mochi.

mochi-natto.jpg

Here’s my third favorite way to eat fresh mochi: with kinako (roasted soy bean flour) and sugar. The ratio of kinako to sugar is entirely up to you - I prefer a 2:1 kinako to sugar mix, some prefer a 1:1 ratio. Alternatively, try unsweetened kinako and molasses - or if you’re in the UK, black treacle. Either sugar syrup is a good stand in for kuromitsu, which is a syrup made from dark brown unrefined sugar.

mochi-kinako.jpg

You can also mix in things into fresh mochi dough itself. Just add whatever you want to mix in during the final minutes of the kneading process. Some things to try: ground up sesame seed, ground up toasted walnuts or other nuts. A traditional additive to mochi is yomogi, a kind of bitter green wild herb. In Japan you can even get dessicated yomogi powder. The mochi in the kinako mochi photo above has some yomogi powder mixed in.

Pounding mochi in harmony

When I was little, and the whole clan gathered at my grandparents’ house in Saitama for New Years, I remember my Aunt Chieko and Uncle Isao hauling out the usu (large wooden mortar) and kine (wooden hammer-shaped pestle) for mochitsuki - pounding mochi. My uncle would beat down on the rice with the kine, and in between his poundings my aunt, crouched next to the usu, would deftly turn the rice over with her bare hands. If she hesitated or lost the rhythm, her hands could have been crushed by the heavy hammerhead of the kine. But nothing ever went wrong - they worked together in perfect harmony.

Looking back, my aunt and uncle’s mochitsuki concert seems like a reflection of their marriage. Neither of them had an easy life - my aunt was orphaned at a young age and was brought up by relatives, and my uncle had to take over the family business when his older brother bailed. Yet, I never ever saw them fight or even have tension between them, even when I lived with them for a couple of months when I was 16. This was such a refreshing contrast from the constant strife my parents had at home, leading to divorce a couple of years later. I guess it helped that my uncle was a man of few words, who let my strong-willed, hard working and always upbeat aunt run the household as she wished. And she did just that, especially after my grandparents passed away.

This New Year will be the first one they will be apart in decades, since Uncle Isao passed away this earlier this year. I rather like to think of him sitting wherever he now, relaxing in his long underwear, with a haramaki (knitted tummy warmer) around his middle, chuckling quietly while sipping on a cool beer.

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Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Wonderful :D After managing to find short grain sweet rice at a specialty store here in Georgia, I tried the mortar and pestle method of mashing it and, like you, found the effort was not worth the results. I'll definitely have to give it a try with our mixer. I certainly never would have thought of to use it till reading this.

I do have have one question about it though; do you think sweet brown rice will work as well as the white in the mixer?

Thanks,

Katie

Katie | 30 December, 2010 - 02:48

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

You may need to adjust the rice cooking times - or just steam it if the rice cooker doesn't work (or try pressure cooking it) but as long as the rice grains cook up nice and plump, the pounding/kneading part should work just as well as with white mochi rice.

maki | 30 December, 2010 - 03:05

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thank you so much for this recipe! I am very excited to try this at home! It will remind me of the time when I was the one trying to not get my hand crushed. ^__^

On an unrelated note, I have been sitting at work all day reading both of your food blogs and rejoicing inside! When I left Japan, I had to leave my stack of Orange Page / Lettuce Club there, and sadly, a lot of the websides I find don't compare to the stacks upon stacks I had collected! Thank you once again Maki!

Amanda | 30 December, 2010 - 03:25

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I know Ifound orange page online and use microsoft translator for it for me(Iwish Icould speak japanese but grew up in the states with english only *-*) heres the link :) http://www.microsofttranslator.com/bv.aspx?ref=SERP&br=ro&mkt=en-US&dl=e... I really hope this helps and you can easily turn off the translator. I know I already love the site as is XD the recipes look so good. http://www.microsofttranslator.com/bv.aspx?ref=SERP&br=ro&mkt=en-US&dl=e... and heres the online lettuce club I found. I do hope they are the right ones for you :3

meagan | 16 August, 2012 - 17:18

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Hi Maki, Thank you for posting this. I've been hunting down recipes for fresh mochi that doesn't need the strong man with hammer. :)

I like mochiko-made dango, but the pounded fresh mochi from grain is tastier. And with natto...swoon.

Happy New Year!

Debra | 30 December, 2010 - 04:09

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

My future husband has a KitchenAid mixer and the first thing I thought of, while reading your intro, was that dough hook!! It's amazing! Just goes to show that paying for quality is worth ten times the price! :)

Jessica | 30 December, 2010 - 05:41

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thank you so much for this! It is hard to get traditional mochi here in the south in the U.S. We do have a few Asian stores which do carry sweet glutinous rice but no method of making actual mochi. I have recipes for using mochiko, which is a rice flour. I could possibly make mochi with it but haven't tried. Since I have a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook, this would be perfect. Do you know if you have to add water while it is mixing. I recall when my relatives would pound mochi, they would add a little water for turning it over in the usu so it wouldn't stick. Do you think it would help to smooth out the mochi though I don't mind a few grains?

islandgirl33 | 30 December, 2010 - 06:11

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Oh my. Thank you!!! I've never had savory mochi, but I LOVE the texture. I'm excited to try this!!

Aunt LoLo | 30 December, 2010 - 06:35

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Maki, I also tried to make mochi many times(same reason here, miss the rice taste)with my food processor(it didn't work), even with my bread baking machine(didn't work either...)
I would love to try your recipe for fresh mochi, but I'm afraid, my kitchen-mixer(a German Bosch brand) doesn't have enough power and I don't have a kitchen aid(these are very expensive in Germany).
But, I will get a Japanese mochi-tsuki machine soon, do you have any tips how to use it, so far I know, I need a transformer(hope this is right word, there is an difference between Japanese and European voltage).
I already asked in a japanese forum in Germany but I got rather "strange" answers. Right now I don't know which transformer I should get, any ideas? Thank you!

I also found a rather nice way to make mochi from selfmade mochi-ko flour, you can process small amounts of sweet rice in a food processor(in blender for milkshakes), then sieve it very fine. Also a old coffee grinder works fine, but only for small amounts.
I mixed my mochiko flour 1:1 with water to make kagami mochi, and more water for smoother ones. There is a recipe on my blog, but it is in German( I'm sorry). I dind't have a "real" recipe for kagami mochi, I still don't know how to make it the "right" way.;-)

Amatō | 30 December, 2010 - 13:55

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

The Japanese voltage and power plugs are compatible to the US systems. There are two aspects when buying appliances in Japan (or the US) to be used in Europe: Voltage and Frequency. For the voltage, you will need a transformer. For the Frequency, you have a look at the technical label (or the technical specifications/data sheet of the appliance and check if it says 50-60 Hz or 60 Hz only. in the first case, you have no problems; in the second case, it depends. If no motors are built in the appliance, you should have no problems; if motors are built in, there is a small risk that it won't work at all, and a greater risk that it will have less power. It does depend on the type of the motor, and it is not possible to say whether it works just so. The instructions will also not say what kind of motors are used.

So, you would need a transformer from 230V to 115 V (well, 110…120 V). The wattage depends on the appliance you want to hook up; a representative mochi maker is rated at 600 W. In this case, you should do well with a 800 to 1000 VA transformer. If you also intend to buy other appliances, such as a rice cooker, you may better get a 2000 VA model (you may also take into consideration your power installation; if you have 6A fuses, you can't go much over 1000 W for the appliance.

Such transformers should be available at a well-stocked electronic store (you might look at Conrad or so, if that fails, you might check distributors for the industry, and ask whether they do retail).

You might also look at the prices before you make your investments…

BTW, when you have had real mochi, you will throw your mochi powder in the garbage...

Hope this can help.

Guruman | 30 December, 2010 - 15:27

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

What Guruman said ^_^ Also, keep in mind that the cost of the mochi machine + transformer + shipping charges may equal the price of a KitchenAid....(I got my KitchenAid at a Boulanger in France on sale for around 360 Euro btw, in case you're near enough to the border!)

maki | 30 December, 2010 - 15:36

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I love mochi! Great post, I cant wait to try out this recipe!

Liam | 30 December, 2010 - 16:03

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Maki, I can't wait to try this! I love my KitchenAid - I use it at least once a day and I am so excited to have a new use for it. I have been dying to try moffles since you first wrote about them, but for one reason or another I always forget mochi at the market (unless it's mochi ice cream ... I always remember that!)

When reading that you can add things to the mochi, my thoughts immediately turned to macha - any guidelines on how much to add or should I just add until the color looks about right?

Also, I was touched by your memory of your Aunt and Uncle pounding mochi together - what a beautiful picture you paint of them!

Carolyn | 30 December, 2010 - 16:03

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Wow, thank you for such a creative way to make homemade mochi! My mom is visitting us in the US this year so I will definitely try it with her!!! My 5 year old daughter loves kinako with omochi and I am sure it will be special to make your recipe with the three generations gathered around our red Kitchen Aid!!! Your blog is the best!

Akiko | 30 December, 2010 - 20:33

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Wow. thanks for the great recipie.
with a bit of history, fun, informative and easy to understand as usual.
(the one with soybean flour or the buttery seems so good!)
love to hear that little story about your uncle.

Happy holidays!

zandra | 30 December, 2010 - 23:10

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thank you!!! My husband gave me a kitchen-aid and my seven year old boy loooves mochi. This will be the very fresh mochi New Year for us.

Debora Dutra | 31 December, 2010 - 03:22

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

--------I rather like to think of him sitting wherever he now, relaxing in his long underwear, with a haramaki (knitted tummy warmer) around his middle, chuckling quietly while sipping on a cool beer.-------

I have to admit, lately my favorite part about your blog are these tiny touches of your life you add to it -- this is why I read your twitter too. Of course, I love Japanese food and look forward to your recipes, but this is really it for me. :)

MN | 31 December, 2010 - 10:00

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thank you always for your nice comments MN, and Happy New Year to you ^_^

maki | 31 December, 2010 - 13:29

Homemade mochi - my bread machine version

Thanks for the inspiration Maki! Our own omochitsuki has been a success. I don't have an industrial strength mixer but I do have a basic bread machine (a cast off from my parents).
As I didn't expect success with just the bread maker paddle I combined it with some old school technology - a large granite pestle & mortar.
Step 1 - steam the prepared mochi rice and keep it hot; I used 2 cups.
Step 2 - pre heat the granite mortar and the bread maker 'bin' using boiled water (both are then emptied and dried)
Step 3 - taking a quarter of the steamed mochi rice at a time, pound the rice with the pestle in the mortar. Have a small bowl of warm water to wet your hands so you can manipulate and turn the mochi rice. Once pounded into rudimentary mochi drop it into the bread machine and have it start to knead. Repeat until all the rice is pounded and in the bread maker.
As Maki mentioned with her Kitchenaid method, you can stop the breads maker and reheat the mochi and add it back to the machine for extra smooth mochi.
Thanks again Maki, I doubt I would have been brave enough to try this without your blog entry. We're all very happy we have fresh mochi to eat with our toshi koshi soba tonight.

Loretta | 31 December, 2010 - 23:49

my bread machine version - update

I ended up acquiring a fresh mochi addiction so made it several more times (and cutting more and more corners with each attempt!)
Turned out I didn't need to spend the minute pre-pounding the mochi rice in a mortar after all. The step where I heated the bread maker bin with boiling water seemed to be enough to let the breadmachine paddle work its magic on the rice and convert it to mochi, takes about 20 minutes.
Must stress that I have a very basic model with no sophisticated functions and just one tough kneading blade - Hinari HB164. Perhaps this is why it works so well.

Loretta | 5 January, 2011 - 21:21

Re: my bread machine version - update

Thanks for reporting back on your bread machine mochi making Loretta! I am guessing also that it's that strong motor that is the key. Heating up the bin with boiling water is a good idea! I'll try that next time with my KitchenAid bowl.

maki | 6 January, 2011 - 11:05

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I've been pining for a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for years, and now that I've read your post, I pine for one-- with attachments-- even more. I'll keep this post in mind if I ever get one.

Wishing you health and happiness in 2011!

yoko | 1 January, 2011 - 01:48

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thank you, Maki! I grew up in Hawaii, my mother was from Saitama (she passed away last year), and I now live in an area of Texas where the closest Japanese grocery store is two hours away. The last time I went there, they were out of mochi (grrr!). With my mother gone, I no longer receive her care packages lovingly packed full of the Japanese foodstuffs I can't easily get here. My first batch is now kneading away in my Kitchenaid, and I cannot wait to have fresh mochi in my ozoni (but a pale imitation of my mother's...ah, I miss her dearly). Thank you, thank you, thank you!

HI-TX | 1 January, 2011 - 02:08

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Maki, thanks for your recipe. I already tried it with success. It's really easy to make and so yummy!

charsiubau | 2 January, 2011 - 21:01

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

This is amazing, thank you so much for this. I just got a KitchenAid stand mixer myself (its name is Sheldon, if you were interested) and I am so excited to make some homemade fresh mochi with it.

Now, I have to run to the local Asian market to get some mochi rice. =)

anon. | 2 January, 2011 - 21:53

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thanks for the inspiration. Turned our great; my Nagoya-born husband gave it his seal of approval and my daughter kept coming back for more.

CathyM | 2 January, 2011 - 21:58

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

You said that you haven't tried it with a bread machine, but do you think it will work?

This is quite an exciting recipe since for some odd reason they do carry sweet rice at my local grocery store (while lacking many other crucial asian cooking ingredients...)

anon. | 3 January, 2011 - 02:09

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I have not tried using a bread machine, but take a look at Loretta's comment above (she gave it a try and succeeded!)

maki | 3 January, 2011 - 22:11

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Hello,
Do you think it could work with a high power blender instead of the Kitchen-Aid?
I have a Vitamix, which has a 2 horsepower motor; it will pulverize just about anything.

Thanks to anyone who might have input,

Tal

Tal | 3 January, 2011 - 07:12

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I have no experience with a Vitamix, but if it can knead bread dough it may work. (As I've said in other comments, it's the kneading action that is the key.)

maki | 6 January, 2011 - 11:09

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Maki, thank you for your post. I have previously made mochi using breadmaker, but it turned out to be a total failure. I have to try this dough-hook method.
I have been fascinated with Gopan: the new rice bread machine from Sanyo. They have a mochi function!

anon. | 3 January, 2011 - 08:34

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thanks for the recipe, Maki! I have thought about buying mochiko from the market once or twice, but the price has always scared me off. This is great to know, and the last serving suggestion sounds absolutely scrumptious.

I do wonder, though - until I can afford a Kitchen-Aid, all I have is an electric handheld mixer, the kind with the steel whisks. How far could I get with one of these?

Thanks again! -Ani

AniRemi | 4 January, 2011 - 05:08

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I don't think a whisk would do the job I'm afraid. The key here is the kneading/pounding action - the mochi rice is not ground up per se, it's kneaded like bread dough.

maki | 6 January, 2011 - 11:08

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Hi, Maki. You've received lots of comments on the mochi method itself but I wanted to thank you for the charming vignette of your family life. It is this sort of extra dimension that makes your blogs so special and helps set them apart for many of the other excellent food and cooking blogs out there. Wherever he is I hope your uncle's tummy is indeed warm and that his beer is nice and cold.

Donsie | 4 January, 2011 - 12:55
maki | 4 January, 2011 - 22:29

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thanks for this. I found your article when I was finding out how long it will take to dry!

I made it and with my bread machine...and mortle/pestle (but Korean big stone bowl...so it made MUCH more) I will post more details on my blog soon.

(we just made it today)

Vivian

Vivian | 5 January, 2011 - 02:26

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

So happy to find this information. I have a KitchenAid so will try it. How fun this will be since it's been over 50 years since we had our last mochitsuki with my now deceased parents and grandparents. Many thanks!

JoAnn | 8 January, 2011 - 19:44

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I made a batch the day before New Year's Day, and it turned out fantastic! I immediately toasted a piece and ate it with shoyu [I was out of nori :( but it was still scrumptious]. I cut the rest up and let it sit out to dry for a day dusted with potato starch per your instructions, then ate a couple in ozoni on New Year's Day (yummy!). I wrapped the remaining pieces individually in plastic wrap, put them in a ziptop freezer bag, and placed the bag in the freezer. Yesterday, I took a piece out, unwrapped it, and set it to thaw out of harm's way. I promptly forgot about it until the next day. When I remembered, I decided to try toasting it since I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained. It was just as good as the first piece I toasted! Knowing I can keep a stash in the freezer is such a plus. I thought others might like to know this can be successfully frozen.

HI-TX | 10 January, 2011 - 03:37

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thank you! I am Japanese American, from CA, living in NJ for the past 15 years.... I miss CA and all the Japanese foods I grew up with and Mochitsuki. I crave mochi all the time and am so grateful for your site. I am going to try making mochi with my 3 girls today...

Christie | 16 January, 2011 - 17:53

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Maki,
Japanese groceries are so difficult to find in NJ. I used the rice we eat every day, brown mixed with white and the dough hook just pushed the rice to the sides of my kitchen aid and it never came together after 15 minutes so I abandoned the batch. I'm so disappointed. What did I do wrong? I have sushi rice, can I use that? Or must I go to find mochi rice? When we had mochitsuki I was never involved in the details of buying the supplies, I always assumed it was the rice we eat every day... My job was making the individual mochi and eating it with oroshi, kinako and the special batch my Oji-san made with nori mixed in. Help! I want to eat mochi!

Christie | 16 January, 2011 - 23:34

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

You have to use mochi or short grain/sweet rice. "Sushi" rice or regular Japanese rice is not sticky enough and will not turn into mochi, and neither will regular American style rice. See Looking at rice for the differences between rice types. I don't know where in NJ you are, but if you can get to Mitsuwa in Edgewater you can get mochi rice for sure. If you're nearer Philly, there are Japanese grocery stores there also. See the Japanese grocery store list.

maki | 17 January, 2011 - 04:10

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Hi Maki! Thank you! I found sweet rice at our local Wegmans, so surprised! But happy. We made mochi last weekend! Soooo good! My girls were so excited... they want to make more this weekend. I have a question. I don't have one, so I can't try it, but I'm wondering. What do you think about the grinder attachment to the kitchen aid? Would it work for mochi??!!

Thank you also for the list of grocery stores. We found Maido last year and made one trip to Edgeweater but it is so far. I'm happy to know we did not miss any grocery stores closer.

I am so happy for your site! Always looking for fun bento boxes for my girls too, love the bento site!

Christie | 29 January, 2011 - 18:23

Fresh Mochi Properties

I get the idea that fresh mochi is a lot different from mochi made from mochiko. How can you use it? Does it still work for dango or not? What are all the things you can do with it?

MSS | 21 January, 2011 - 22:03

Re: Fresh Mochi Properties

The short answer first: there are many different kinds of mochi!

Long answer:

Pure mochi rice mochi, described in this article, dries out very fast, and has to be eaten when just freshly made, or allowed to dry out (as it is for mochi cakes or mochi used as ceremonial decorations, e.g. kagami-mochi used at New Years). It is then re-constituted by grilling and/or cooking in liquid, such as soup. Fresh-made, still-warm mochi is consumed as described in this article.

The 'mochi' you may be used to seeing used for say, daifuku or ichigo daifuku and many other wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets), is properly called gyuuhi rather than mochi, and is a dough made by combining 2 different kinds of rice flour, sugar, and often katakuriko or potato starch. The same goes for the little dumplings (shiratama) used in oshiruko, zenzai and so on.

For non-sweet dumplings such as the ones used for mitarashi dango, a combination of rice flours is used also.

There are rougher textured dango, such as the ones used for a type called gohei-mochi, or the Tohoku area speciality called kiritampo - rice dumplings that are usually simmered in soup - which are a combination of rices (and usually freshly made and consumed).

maki | 26 January, 2011 - 15:10

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I live in Los Angeles where it is easy to buy mochi but I have to agree that there is nothing like freshly made mochi. My family is lucky enough to have an older-model mochi maker. The relatives that live locally get together sometime between Christmas and New Years to make multiple batches. My mom has one of those vacuum sealers, which we use to package the mochi as soon as it has cooled. We store what we plan to eat soon at room temperature and freeze the rest to enjoy as long as it lasts.

I have some ideas for keeping your mochi warm as you use your KitchenAid mixer:

  • Wrap a heating pad around the bowl. I think I saw this done on a cooking site but I can't remember what site nor for what recipe.
  • Wrap a hot towel (if you have a clothes dryer) around the bowl.
  • Run a hair blowdryer on the side of the bowl.

Thanks for your great blog and Happy New Year!

KT | 26 January, 2011 - 12:13

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I am going to try this tonight. I have sushi rice at home and already have the KitchenAid, so I'm set! I'm going to experiment with making mochi cakes filled with sweet red bean paste.

Kathie | 30 January, 2011 - 04:13

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

"Sushi" rice will not work for this...you need rice that is labeled mochi rice or sweet rice.

maki | 30 January, 2011 - 08:52

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for sharing this! We are from Hawai`i, living in Okinawa right now and will be moving to Germany in a couple months...I never thought I'd find a website that gave me information on where to find Japanese grocery stores in Europe (including a place to buy my favorite Okinawan sugar), bento info, a make-at-home mochi recipe I can do by myself AND bring a tear to my eye with poignant family stories...amazing.

anon. | 4 February, 2011 - 07:44

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Hi!

I am a Japanese-Brazilian living in Japan.
I can buy mochi easily here, but I love homemade things.
Thank you so much for the recipe. I will buy the mochi rice and try to make it with my Kitchen Aid.
I loved what you wrote about your uncle and aunt.
Thank you!

Cristina | 7 February, 2011 - 10:59

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thanks so much for this post! I knew there was a reason I wanted a stand mixer :D

Mochi~~ When I was studying at a Japanese school in Fukuoka a year ago, on Christmas we took a school trip to a shrine and made mochi. The students and teachers each got a turn with the giant hammer, and we all formed the little balls afterwards. A lot of it got eaten there at the shrine -- they had the soy sauce & daikon, plus the kinako, and anko. The leftovers went home with the students who were doing homestays as a gift to the families, and some was saved for the soup we had during the New Year's celebration at school.

Mochi is awesome :D Hmm, I wonder how feasible it would be to recreate the mochi ice cream I used to get (way too often) at the combini...

KT | 10 February, 2011 - 23:50

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I've wanted a KitchenAid stand mixer for the longest time, and this article made me want one even more! Well, I finally got my red-hot Kitchenaid last Friday and, after testing a few easy things to make sure I knew was I was doing, this was the first recipe I made. I've grown up loving "plain" mochi and always have a stock of mochi cakes at my house that I buy at our local Japanese grocery store. However, I'm on the eternal quest to try make things myself.

My grandma was born and raised in Japan and came over to the US with my grandpa after the war. As she gets older, we're finding that she's only really happy with Japanese food, mostly the things she grew up with. Unfortunately, she never taught me how to make anything and my mom only took interest in a few dishes so I look to your site to find the things she talks about or that we've had in restaurants. Since she's increadibly honest, it's very easy to tell if I've gotten it right or not.

When she had the first bite of fresh mochi, she instantly lit up and said "this is *just* like Japan!". I later found out that she stole the remaining mochi that I had wrapped up :) I guess I'll have to make this again! Thank you soooooooo much for sharing this!

Angie | 15 February, 2011 - 19:22

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I just found your blog today while in search of some good Japanese recipes. Thanks for posting about Mochi, I love it. I just learned a new way that maybe you can try, it's just a small adjustment to yours, but we didn't have any of the graininess. We made this at a my friends Japanese preschool in the U.S.
After soaking the rice overnight (before cooking the rice). We put the water & rice into a blender. Amazingly it comes out very runny. We put it into a bowl, and covered it with saran wrap and cooked it in the microwave (I believe about 3 min, stir a little then 3 more minutes). When it came out we let the kids pound it for just a few minutes with pestels (be sure to wet them with water first so they don't stick). It really only needed a minute of pounding, if even at all. The mochi came about great!
I want to try your method as well.

anon. | 26 February, 2011 - 21:50

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Maki, thanks for this post. Every New Year while we were stationed in Japan, we would go to my friend Kumiko's house and pound mochi. Her husband, Mr. Ito, was like your Uncle Isao, a strong, quiet man. They had that same rhythm pounding the mochi and the best part was filling them with sweet bean and ripe strawberries. Reading your blogs and recipes makes me miss Japan so much more. I'd return in a heartbeat! Keep up the wonderful work!

xuan | 29 July, 2011 - 17:09

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

wow, this looks almost do-able! I don't eat mochi enough to merit a mochi maker, but do have a stand mixer, never thought of using that. Your preparations look fabulous and so interesting, especially the natto. I grew up toasting it in the toaster oven and dipping it in soy sauce and sugar...

foodhoe | 31 December, 2011 - 01:45

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I had to get rid of our bread machine and was worried that the unit I replaced it with wouldn't be able to make mochi. No problems!
I made mochi today using the Swedish built Ankarsrum Assistent. Poured in just boiled water then drained and dried the bowl so that it started off hot, threw in the hot rice and let it go with the mixing wheel and scraper. It took less than ten minutes to turn the rice to good smooth mochi. You can use the square spatula that comes with the unit to get the mochi out but I found that a breadmaker's dough scraper works best.
Since it's the bowl that turns on the Assistent mixer and not any hook or paddle I wasn't sure it would work. But it does. Beautifully.
Was lucky to be able to buy an as new red Assistent on EBay at half the retail price, so cheaper than a Kitchenaid for me. It truly is the stand mixer of my dreams.

Loretta | 10 May, 2012 - 15:40

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Can I do this with regular white rice

Renia | 12 October, 2012 - 03:28

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Renia wrote:

Can I do this with regular white rice

Hi Renia (sorry for the long delay in responding). Maki already answered this question but I thought I'd elaborate as I now make mochi with mochi rice AND gohei mochi with Akita komachi 'regular' rice.
You cannot make the mochi described in Maki's article with regular rice - but there are other things you can make. If by 'regular' rice you mean the short grained Japanese kind - not American long grained or basmatic etc. - you can make the rustic damako mochi with a Kitchen Aid (or a suribachi pestle and mortar if you have a LOT of patience). This kind of mochi doesn't have the elasticity or toothsome bite of regular mochi. It does make very nice gluten free dumplings that can be a welcome addition to a savoury soup or stew. Alternatively, you make rudimentary gohei mochi by forming flat 'Popsicles' out of regular rice mochi, make a paste with nuts, sugar, soy sauce, perhaps some mirin and miso and grill or BBQ them until they are golden on both sides. Brown rice can be substituted but the results are less toothsome still. I've found that brown rice with some mochi rice added to the mix makes a good compromise.
I've posted more information here:
http://justbento.com/forum/type-dango-ish-thingy

Loretta | 1 December, 2012 - 10:10

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

I'm very excited to fine this article. I am now living in Germany and will spend my first winter without making mochi with my family! Now I can at least enjoy the few pieces of mochi I NEED to start the new year right. Unfortunately, I'll miss the family making fun of each other while burning our hands on hot melted rice.

Now to find a recipe for mushroom base ozoni. Do you know which mushroom is considered the "golden" mushroom? I once had the most amazing ozoni made by a Buddhist minister's wife. It was very clear, light in flavor - delicate - would be the word to describe it. I was told it was a very expensive type of mushroom that was used and I can't for the life of me remember the name! Any thoughts?

Julie | 22 December, 2012 - 00:23

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Hello,
I really want to make healthy mochi for my family. I was wondering if sweet brown rice or glutinous black rice would work? It should as long as it's glutinous, right? Thank you so much! :)

Aprilp | 2 January, 2013 - 03:06

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thanks so much for this post! This has answered so many of the questions I've been wondering about mochi making!

Nagisa | 27 January, 2013 - 17:17

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

You have such beautiful memories of mochi. :) I'll definitely try out this method soon. But with a blender, because I don't have a stand mixer.

Ysa | 22 February, 2013 - 02:56

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

How would I adapt this recipe using sweet rice flour instead of rice? Would I still need to steam the rice flour, and how would I do this? Thanks

San | 5 April, 2013 - 17:13

How powerful stand mixer do you use?

Hi, what model stand mixer do you use? Do we need need powerful mixer like ksm300-500ps?

Edwin | 13 August, 2013 - 09:34

Re: How powerful stand mixer do you use?

As noted in the article I used a KitchenAid Artisan model. I think their specs are online. (I don't have this mixer anymore though since it was stolen in a burglary.)

maki | 13 August, 2013 - 12:33

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Now i'm very excited to fine this short article. I was now coping with Germany and may spend my first winter without making mochi with my loved ones! Now I could at least take pleasure in the few items of mochi I have to start the new year suitable. Unfortunately, I'll miss the household making fun of each other whilst burning our practical hot melted rice.
Read more about:http://www.funrecipeblog.com/

fermujas | 16 August, 2013 - 15:25

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Fantastic: Deb Right after controlling to find limited grain nice hemp at a specialised retail store in Atlanta, My spouse and i tried the actual mortar and also pestle method of mashing this and also, as you, identified your time was not worth the final results. I'll undoubtedly need to test it out for with this mixing machine. My spouse and i undoubtedly never ever can have looked at to make use of this until eventually reading this article.
Read more about:http://www.funrecipeblog.com/

fermujas | 16 August, 2013 - 15:32

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thank you for sharing this recipe. It looks yummy. And the images are mouth watering too! :)

Bread Machine Recipes | 27 September, 2013 - 14:37

Re: Homemade mochi (pounded rice) the modern way

Thanks so much for this recipe. My question may have already been asked in your many comments. If so, I apologize. I was wondering if this is the same type of mochi you could fill with the sweet red bean paste. Thank you again!

Rose | 28 September, 2013 - 10:30

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