While there is no real substitute for mochi made by pounding mochi (glutinous) rice there is something to be said for the easy substitute provided by these two recipes. Both recipes use mochiko (mochi flour) to generate a final product that is softer than traditional mochi but very delicious and also usable in other recipes like red bean soup, aka zenzai (see the last post for an easy zenzai recipe).

The first recipe is taken from a very old but well loved issue of Giant Robot (issue 30, pg22) and calls for baking a mochi batter. The second I snatched from my mom (to me the O. G. of mochi makers) and involves boiling mochi dough in water.

Baked mochi à la Giant Robot

1 lb box of mochiko (about 3 1/2C)
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups of water
1 can coconut milk (12 oz.)
1 tsp vanilla
(optional 4 drops food coloring)
9″ x 13″ pan
oil/butter for greasing pan

First mix liquids together in one bowl and everything else in another bowl to ensure everything is evenly mixed. Then combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until smooth. The mixture will have a very runny consistency. Pour mixture into greased pan, and cover with foil. Bake at 350F for one hour then remove and cool. Dust with corn starch, potato starch (katakuriko) or kinako before and after cutting into squares, and serve!

Boiled mochi à la mom

This second recipe is from my mom and makes great dumpling-shaped (dango) mochi – perfect for using in zenzai (or eating, obviously).

mochiko (as much as you want)
water as needed

Mix the mochiko with enough water to form a cookie dough-like consistency. Break off and roll small balls of the dough into the size of donut holes (or Timbits for those in Canada). Bring a pot of water to boil, and also have ready a bowl of cold water.

Drop the balls of dough in the water a few at a time – cooking until they float to the top. Once they float to the top, scoop them out, and put them in the cold water just briefly to cool them down. Then roll in corn starch, potato starch or kinako. If you’re not using them right away, they can be kept in the fridge.

Pictured is “janbo mochi” – a dish served in a little town just outside Kagoshima that I was lucky enough to try this summer. The mochi are skewered (with sticks said to look like samurai janbo swords) and toasted just a little on a small hibachi-type grill, and then covered in a sweet syrup with just a hint of soy sauce. Not a bad serving suggestion for the mochi above!


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