Homemade, organic Mochi

How to make fresh mochi

One of the most common ways of consuming sweet rice(mochigome) is in the form of mochi. A traditional Japanese preparation, mochi is made by pounding steamed sweet rice in a large mortar ( “usu”) with a heavy mallet(“kine”). A Mochi-tsuki (literally “mochi making”) typically takes place shortly before the Japanese New Year. After the steamed rice is pounded into a smooth mass, small individual “cakes” are quickly formed. Mochi is typically consumed fresh, alternatively, it may be air-dried or frozen for later use.

Making mochi the traditional way is an exhausting process, this is why many Japanese households use a mochitsuki-ki, an electrical device similar to a bread machine. Fresh Mochi is very tasty, and the variations for preparation are numerous,  it can be enjoyed savory or sweet. Using glutinous rice flour like mochiko or shiratmako is only suitable for Japanese sweets like daifuku mochi or other wagashi,  mochi made from rice flour will never have such good rice taste like the pounded kind.

Of course, there are few possibilities for making mochi at home, but few are rather expensive. Beside an electrical mochi maker(available on Amazon),  you could try to make mochi with a bread machine, Umamitopia has a great recipe: making mochi the easy way. If you are a happy owner of a Kitchen Aid, you could try Maki’s Recipe: homemade mochi the modern way.

Mochi-tsuki scene with traditional Japanese dolls called Ningyou.

My bread machine wasn’t strong enough(and almost broke) and I don’t possess a mochi-maker or a Kitchen Aid, but I  found an different, easy and fast method for making mochi at home. All you need is an ordinary food processor or blender(it doesn’t need to be anything “special”), beside the soaking time for the rice the preparation is really fast: just place the raw, soaked rice in the blender and process into a thick, smooth “rice milk”, after this the mass needs to be steamed(or use a microwave for this step).

I use this recipe a lot, mochi made this way are really tasty, especially in dishes like mochi pizza or grilled mochi. I prefer to use organic, brown glutinous rice(genmai mochigome) or white and brown rice mixture , this way it is more nutritious(and in my opinion, the mochi tastes better, too) . Of course, I’m sure the bread machine/Kitchen Aid methods produce better tasting mochi, because this is closer on the traditional preparation. But “my” blender method works fine for me, and I prefer mochi baked or grilled. :-)

Homemade, organic mochi recipe

200g mochigome(glutinous rice) or organic genmai mochigome

190ml filtered water

a little salt

1 tablespoon organic rice syrup(optional)

Variations: Yomogi(Japanese mugwort), roasted  sesame seeds, kuro mame(sweetened black soybeans)

Tip: using more water creates a softer, smoother mochi, less water is better for grilled/baked mochi.

Wash the rice, drain and place in a bowl or a container. Pour 1900ml of fresh, filtered water over the rice and soak it for about 3-4 hours (6-8 hours or over night if using brown rice).

Transfer the soaked rice into a blender, and process for 1-2 minutes, till you have a smooth, white “rice milk”( if using brown rice it will be like fine sand, that’s fine).

Pour the “rice milk” in a bowl, cover the bowl and steam in a steamer for 30-35 minutes(siir 1-2 times). Or,  you can cook it in the microwave: heat for 2 minutes on 600 watt(almost the highest setting), then take it out, stir and cook for other 2 minutes, till you have a sticky, somehow translucent mochi mass(picture on the left).

Pour the hot mochi on a tray dusted with starch and let it cool, then cut in pieces. For making round mochi, you need to form the warm dough(but this is much more work and mess ;-) ).

Mochi is best enjoyed fresh on the same day it’s made), but once cooled to room temperature, it can be frozen or kept for 4-5 days in the fridge(it can still be enjoyed grilled or cooked, this is what I usually do). In my opinion, it’s even better to use “older” mochi for grilling/baking, it will dry out a little and become rather firm after few days in the fridge(similar to the dry, store bought mochi).

You can use this recipe for making Kagami Mochi, but if you are interested in making wagashi, here are very tasty recipes for Daifuku Mochi and Sakura Mochi(both are in English).

How to enjoy mochi?

Oh, there are many incredible delicious variations! I’m a huge mochi fan :-) , and like it especially grilled or baked, as  “Isobe Maki”(picture): wrap nori stripes over small mochi pieces and bake/grill in the oven(180-200°C) for around 10 minutes, then dip in shoyu and serve grated daikon(white radish) on the side. Or macrobiotic sweet genmai mochi: grilled or baked then served hot with kinako(roasted soybean flour) and organic brown rice syrup.

I made few other tasty mochi dishes, but this is something for a new post, but you really should try this out:

Vegan Mochi Pizza

2-3 pieces genmai mochi
3-4 fresh shiitake or other mushrooms
green onions or chives
2-3 tablespoons vegan miso cheese sauce

Preparation: place mochi pieces on a baking sheet(you could use store bought mochi , too) spread 2-3 tablespoons “cheese sauce” and place sliced mushrooms on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes(200°C), sprinkle green onions or chives on top.

Together with a vegan “cheese sauce” it is really very similar to cheese, because hot mochi melts and has a gooey, sticky texture. You can use mochi pieces as a “cheese substitute”: grated or chopped and sprinkled on veggies or pizza(but it’s better to add some seasoning like miso and nutritional yeast).

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