Mochi (Japanese: 餅) is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. Mochi is also a prominent snack in Hawaii, Taiwan, Cambodia, and Thailand.
Traditionally, mochi was made from whole rice, in a labor-intensive process. The traditional mochi-pounding ceremony in Japan is Mochitsuki:
Mochi can also be prepared from a flour of sweet rice (mochiko). The flour is mixed with water to a sticky opaque white mass that is cooked on the stovetop or in the microwave until it becomes elastic and slightly transparent.
Popular uses for mochi
Many types of traditional wagashi and mochigashi (Japanese traditional sweets) are made with mochi. For example, daifuku is a soft round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, such as sweetened red bean paste (an) or white bean paste (shiro an). Ichigo daifuku is a version containing a whole strawberry inside.
Kusa mochi is a green variety of mochi flavored with yomogi (tansy). When daifuku is made with kusa mochi, it is called yomogi daifuku.
Small balls of ice cream are wrapped inside a mochi covering to make mochi ice cream. In Japan this is manufactured by the conglomerate Lotte under the name Yukimi Daifuku, "snow-viewing daifuku". In the United States the grocery chains Trader Joe's, H Mart, and Mollie Stone's sell mochi ice cream in flavors of chocolate, mango, coconut, green tea, coffee, vanilla, and strawberry. Mikawaya, a Japanese-owned company operating in Los Angeles, manufactures the variety that is sold by Trader Joe's and Mollie Stone's. The New Central Market in Anchorage Alaska provides a variety of mochi and mochi ice cream products throughout Alaska. The Pinkberry, Yogen Fruz, Yogurtland and Red Mango frozen yogurt chains also offer mochi as standard topping on their desserts (with Red Mango offering it on their secret menu), available upon request from customers. International frozen yogurt chains that offer mochi as a topping include Indonesia's J.CO Donuts.
Full article ▸