Most people know mochi as a bite-size Japanese treat filled with adzuki (red bean) paste, or nowadays, filled with ice cream. But the mochi I grew up eating was slightly different. I have fond memories of visiting Taiwan and being served warm môa-chî that had been stretched and cut into pieces with chopsticks, rolled in a ground peanuts & sugar mixture. They were not filled with anything nor shaped into perfectly round balls. They were a simple, yet satisfying treat.
There are a few different ways of making mochi. The traditional method is labor intensive and involved pounding glutinous rice after it has been soaked and cooked! A less labor-intense method is using mochiko (glutinous rice) flour and cooking on the stove. However, in a 100 degree heatwave, I decided to take the 2-minute approach. Yes ladies, and gentlemen (if any of you are out there reading), you can make mochi in the microwave!
I decided to make two versions of mochi - plain and green tea flavored. Also filled, and unfilled - the unfilled ones were rolled in a ground almond, sugar and cinnamon mixture (I didn't have any peanuts). Since I'm not a huge fan of adzuki paste, I used Nutella to fill some of the mochi. Feel free to fill or top them with whatever your heart desires!
I even attempted to fill the green tea mochi with some homemade green tea ice cream but I couldn't work fast enough - the ice cream melted and leaked out of the mochi wrapper. Who cares what it looks like as long as it tastes good, right? Trust me, they tasted really good.
I'll definitely try the ice cream mochi again (umm, maybe not during a heatwave), but in the meantime - try these chewy, little bites for yourself!
Yield: 8-10 pieces of mochi
1 cup glutinous rice flour
¾ cup (180ml) water
1/4 cup sugar
Cornstarch for dusting
Fillings (optional), such as red bean paste, nutella, peanut butter, ground nuts, jam, or ice cream, etc.
Microwave cornstarch for 2 minutes, and set aside to cool completely before using to dust work surface.
In a glass or microwaveable bowl, whisk together rice flour and water until smooth. Then stir in the sugar until dissolved.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. The mixture should become solid and quite sticky. If still liquid, stir and return to microwave and heat in 30 second intervals. Allow mochi to cool slightly before continuing.
Dust work surface with reserved cornstarch. Using a spoon or chopsticks, drop a ball of mochi onto surface and roll to cover in cornstarch. Divide into 8 or 10 pieces. Flatten each ball of mochi into round discs. Place a heaping teaspoonful of filling in center of each mochi disc and wrap ends together to seal. Roll in more cornstarch and shape into balls.
Store mochi between pieces of parchment or waxed paper, in airtight container at room temperature.
Mochi balls may also be left unfilled and rolled in ground nuts & sugar mixture (equal parts nuts & sugar), coconut flakes, cocoa powder, etc.
*For green tea mochi, add 1/2 tsp. green tea powder to flour & water