Although they are made year-round, in Japan mochi are traditionally associated with New Year. They’re simple (but sticky!) to make – have plenty of cornflour on hand.
Mochi, delightfully chewy, mellow little pillows of rice-based dough often filled with nut, seed or sweet bean mixtures, get their name from mochigome, a particular strain of glutinous rice. Traditionally, the cooked rice is pounded to make the dough but glutinous rice flour (easily purchased from Asian grocers) mixed with water can be used instead.
- 200 g (1 cup) glutinous rice flour
- 75 g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
- 250 ml (1 cup) warm water
- cornflour, for dusting
- 50 g chopped roasted peanuts
- 2½ tbsp caster sugar
- 2½ tbsp crunchy peanut butter
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.
Bring half a saucepanful of water to the boil. Combine the rice flour and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl large enough to fit over the saucepan. Stir to mix well then pour in the water. Using a whisk, stir vigorously until the mixture is completely smooth. Cover the bowl tightly with foil then place over the boiling water. Cook for 15 minutes then remove from the heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until it is smooth. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile, for the filling, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and using your fingers, mix well. When the rice flour mixture is cool enough to handle, scrape it out onto a work surface scattered lightly with cornflour. Divide into 12 even-size pieces using a sharp knife dusted in cornflour. Working with one piece at a time and dusting your hands with cornflour to stop it sticking, roll each piece into a ball. Flatten the ball then use your hands to form it into a round about 8cm across. Place a heaped teaspoonful of the filling in the centre of the round then bring the edges over the filling to enclose, pinching them together well to seal. If necessary, gently re-roll into a round, pressing the top slightly to flatten a little. Mochi will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 2 days.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.