Making homemade mochi may seem daunting, but it’s actually quite simple.






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (89 votes)

You just need the confidence to work with a dough that is unfathomably stretchy and sticky. Dust your hands generously with cornflour and work quickly and assertively. And don’t worry if they look a little wonky – they will still taste amazing.

Mochi (as they call them in Japan) have experienced a surge in popularity in recent years and are now widely available filled with ice cream, but when I was growing up I knew them as lo mai chi (in Cantonese) – sticky balls filled with either red bean paste or peanuts with coconut. They were, and still are, one of my favourite desserts from the sweets trolley at yum cha.


  • 150 g (1 cup) glutinous rice flour (sweet rice flour)
  • 170 g (¾ cup) caster sugar 
  • 60 g (⅔ cup) desiccated coconut
  • cornflour, for dusting

Black sesame and coconut filling

  • ½ cup black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut pinch of sea salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. For the black sesame and coconut filling, place the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan and toast over low heat for 4–5 minutes until aromatic, shaking the pan every now and then. Place the seeds and sugar in a blender or food processor and blend until finely ground. Pour the ground seeds into a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and stir to form a thick paste.

2. Whisk together the glutinous rice flour and 320 ml of water until the flour has dissolved. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a saucepan. Stir in the sugar, then place over medium heat and stir continuously for about 3 minutes until you have a very sticky dough ball. Remove from the heat.

3. Lay a sheet of baking paper on a chopping board and sprinkle generously with cornflour. Tip the dough ball onto the paper and allow to cool slightly before sprinkling with more cornflour. Cut the dough into 12–14 pieces.

4. Sprinkle the desiccated coconut onto a plate.

5. Dust your hands with a little cornflour before handling the sticky dough. Roll a piece into a ball, then flatten into a disc using your hands and fingers. The dough should be soft and malleable. Place about 1 teaspoon of the black sesame filling in the centre, then pull the sides up and over the filling, pinching and twisting to seal the dough. Roll the ball in the desiccated coconut to coat, and reshape the ball if you need to. If you find that your hands are feeling sticky, just dust again with cornflour. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.



• Mochi are best eaten immediately. They can be left in an airtight container at room temperature for 24 hours only. Avoid storing them in the fridge as they will harden. If you have leftover mochi, freeze and then consume them frozen.


This recipe is from 'To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon (Plum, RRP $39.99) Photography by Hetty McKinnon.