making mochi: cultural experiments in the kitchen.
Mochi is a Japanese dessert, similar to Turkish delight. It’s easier to make than Turkish delight, and a kid friendly baking activity! It’s almost like a science experiment with all the different textures and reactions. It’s also gluten free! It can be an acquired taste, it can be weird, it can be fun, satisfying and entertaining.
I was first introduced to mochi a few summers ago when I was a nanny for two little girls. I asked them what their favourite treat was, and they both said mochi. They described it as “a sticky rice cake.”
I researched it myself and the next day we set out to make mochi! It didn’t turn out as well as this recipe, simply because of the quality of the flour and a few missteps in between. I also added a few drops of food colouring, but this recipe makes brown mochi, a bit more appetizing if you ask me.
You can find pre-made mochi in T&T Supermarkets in Vancouver, and they are most often filled with red bean paste and come in different flavours. My favourite is the green tea mochi, which looks like fluffly little soft green pillows tucked away inside the box.
If you’re feeling adventurous, why not make some mochi and teach your kids a cultural lesson in the meantime!
Cocoa Mochi (Easy Microwave Version)
A traditional Japanese confection, dense and chewy in texture.
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 box (1#) Mochiko Blue Star Brand Sweet Rice Flour
3 cups water
extra cocoa powder for dusting
In medium saucepan, using a whisk, combine sugar and cocoa together very thoroughly. Then add 1 cup water and mix well. Heat syrup over medium high, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Using a whisk, mix flour and 3 cups water in a large microwavable bowl until smooth. You may want to switch to a spoon, as the mixture will get super gooey and will coat the whisk like nobodies business!
Cover and microwave for 5 minutes on high. Remove from oven and using a large spoon, mix thoroughly. Return to oven, uncovered, and cook an additional 5 minutes on high.
Remove from oven and add the cocoa syrup (at this point I also added a dash of rose water, but that can be left out because it lends a strong flavor) and mix thoroughly.
Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch nonstick baking pan lightly coated with coconut oil. Let mochi cool overnight or until firm (about 5 hours refrigerated).
Dust top with cocoa powder and invert contents onto a cutting board dusted with cocoa powder (before inverting pan, gently pull the mochi along the pan sides free).
Cut mochi into small pieces and dust all surfaces in cocoa powder (but be warned, if your cocoa powder is bitter, you may want to skip this step!)
Store in airtight container and refrigerate. Keeps for a week.
Cubed and ready to eat!