Mochiko is a popular Japanese rice cake which has made its mark all over the world. Traditionally, it was made to celebrate the Japanese New Year but now it is eaten throughout the twelve months. It is a versatile eating dish and can be made in various shapes and sizes.
Basic Traditional Mochiko
The most basic mochi is also the easiest to make. You start off by placing that red bean paste you’ve made into an aluminum foil. Place this foil wrapped bean paste in the freezer and leave it there for three hours. Now, mix in the green tea powder and sweet rice flour along with the water and sugar. You need to keep stirring it till it is smooth and once it gets to that point wrap it in plastic. You then want to heat the mixture in the microwave for more than a few minutes and cut the stuff into small pieces on a word surface covered in cornstarch. That’s your basic mochi.
1. Chocolate Mochiko
If you want a chocolate flavoured mochi, you need to use one fourth cup chocolate chips in the melted state and stir it into the mochi batter before you start preparing it. After mixing mochiko with sugar in a bowl, one should add water to it and make sure that the mixture is watery. Then it should be covered with a plastic wrap and placed inside a microwaveable dish. It should be microwaved at a high temperature for approximately 4 minutes and subsequently you have to take off the plastic wrap. Make sure that it is gets cold before you cut and serve it to your guests.
2. Green Tea Extract Mochiko
In an aluminum foil, red bean paste needs to be wrapped and put in the freezer for a minimum of 3 hours. Green tea powder (a form of green tea extract) should be mixed well with sweet rice flour preferably in a ceramic bowl or a microwave friendly dish. Sugar needs to be added to the mixture after it is stirred thoroughly in water. Afterwards the bowl should be covered with a plastic wrap and the rice flour mixture should be cooked in the microwave for about three and a half minutes. Meanwhile the red bean paste needs to be divided into 8 equal balls and kept aside. Make sure that you stir the rice flour mixture and heat it for another 30 seconds. Make use of cornstarch while dusting the surface you are preparing to work upon. Try rolling the balls in the size of 2 table spoons and after flattening the mochi ball, a chilled red bean paste ball should be placed in the centre. After pinching the mochi on top of the red bean paste, add cornstarch and keep the mochi seam side in a paper muffin liner so that it doesn’t stick itself.
3. Sweet Mochiko
If you are interested in preparing sweet mochiko, then you should mix it with water in a bowl which is heat proof. Keep on adding water so that it doesn’t become dry. Now comes the steaming part. You need to steam it in a bowl by placing it inside the steamer for about 20 minutes. Then the steamed mochi should be shifted into a pot and cooked with 2/3 cups of sugar at medium heat. After the sugar dissolves fully, add another round of sugar(1/3rd) and mix it thoroughly. Be careful while melting the sugar; you do not want your dish to burn. In a while, take out the hot mochi from the pot and put it in a sheet pan which needs to be dusted with cornstarch. Shape the mochi dough in any form you like.
4. Butter Mochiko
Are you sick of having chocolate mochi? Want to try something new? How about butter mochis! For this you need to make sure that your oven is reheated up to 350 degrees. Take a 9×13″ pan and put some oil in it. Keep aside the mixture of sweet rice flour, baking powder and sugar. Now mix the beaten eggs and vanilla extract together until it becomes a smooth paste. After that, add the butter and milk; both evaporated and coconut and heat it at a low temperature. Now mix all the ingredients together and bake for about an hour. After cooling it on a wire rack, take the help of a knife and cut it into small and equal pieces. Your butter mochis are ready to be eaten.
5. Pumpkin mochiko
Pumpkin mochiko is another alternative if you are tired of the chocolate and plain ones. What you need here is pure pumpkin, a filling of pumpkin pie and condensed milk which is sweetened. The preparation is same as the butter mochi and after combining the dry and wet ingredients together, you need to take two pie dishes, grease them and pour the mochi batter into both evenly. Don’t take it out till the edges turn golden brown. This would take around 45 minutes. Afterwards allow the mochi to cool itself; this will take 2-3 hours and then cut it with a knife and have it!
6. Mochi cookies
It sound appealing and those of you who want to try it out as a snack should follow this method. First you mix all the ingredients (egg, butter and cream) and leave aside the mochi and matcha powder. After stirring the mixture, add in the matcha powder until it reaches an uniform green color and stir it. Add the mochi pieces too. Now make mochi balls of size one inch diameter wise and place them on the cookie sheet. Bake them for 10-12 minutes and after they the edges turn into a golden brown , take them out and wait till they cool down before serving them on a platter.

Featured photo credit: Mochi at Berry Freeze/Rich Moffitt via flickr.com

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