Mochi is a Japanese food made from glutinous rice and characterized by an addictively stretchy and chewy texture. Traditionally, mochi is made by pounding steamed glutinous rice into a paste and then shaped as desired. In modern kitchens, store-bought glutinous rice flour is used as a convenient alternative. It can be made into a dough easily by mixing with a liquid such as milk or water. Mochi can be savoury or sweet. In this recipe, soft and chewy mochi dough is wrapped around lightly-sweetened whipped cream and a juicy grape at the center. I chose grapes because they’re currently in season, but feel free to use other seasonal fruit such as mango, kiwi, clementine, strawberries. Simply cut into grape-sized pieces to work with the proportions in this recipe.
Note 1: For glutinous rice flour, I typically use Koda Farms Blue Star Mochiko, which can be purchased at most Chinese, Korean and Japanese grocery stores. But other brands certainly work as well. It can be labelled as either “glutinous rice flour” or “sweet rice flour”. Note that “rice flour” is different and should not be used to substitute glutinous rice flour in this recipe.
Note 2: It’s best not to consume flours and starches raw, in case of bacterial contamination. Make sure to “cook” them first by toasting them on a dry pan for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool and use for dusting the mochi dough in this recipe.
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For the filling
For the dough
For dusting and kneading the dough
For the filling, add whipping cream and powdered sugar together and whisk to stiff peaks. Transfer into small piping bag but don’t cut the tip off yet. Set piping bag in the fridge to keep chilled.
For the dough, mix glutinous rice flour and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. While stirring, stream in liquid of choice (milk or water). Add oil and mix again until well combined.
Cover bowl with microwave-safe plate or paper towel. Microwave 60 seconds, mix vigorously with a spatula. Cover again. Microwave 30 seconds. Mix. Microwave a final 30 seconds. Dough is cooked. Use spatula to fold it over onto itself several more times until homogenous. Don’t worry if the dough has a few lumps as it will be kneaded smooth in the next step.
Stovetop method: Mix the dough ingredients together. Transfer into non-stick pan and cook on medium heat, mixing and folding constantly with a spatula, until it pulls together into a dough ball.
Allow dough to cool enough to handle with your hands, but the dough should still be warm when you knead it. Dust work surface with a generous amount of toasted potato starch/corn starch/glutinous rice flour (whichever you’re using — see note 2). Transfer dough on it. Dust the top with more starch. Knead briefly by hand until smooth, soft and stretchy. Dust with starch as needed to prevent sticking. Shape into a log and cut into 8 equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a round disc approximately 3 ½ inches in diameter. To fill more easily, drape disc into a small concave round dish (like a soy sauce dish), allowing dough edges to drape over the sides.
Take the whipped cream from the fridge. Cut ½-inch opening at the tip of the piping bag. Pipe a dollop of cream in the center (about 2 teaspoons), add 1 grape, and pipe more cream (about another 2 teaspoons) to cover. Make sure dough edges stay clean of any cream to seal properly.
Gather dough edges to the top and pinch with fingertips to seal. Use scissors to trim off any excessively-thick dough at the joint. Gently flip over onto parchment-lined or well-floured plate. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Enjoy!
Homemade mochi (i.e. without preservatives) are freshest the day of. However, if you need to store, I recommend placing them in an airtight container to store in the freezer. Defrost for about 5 minutes on the counter before enjoying. You can store in the fridge for a day but beyond that, the dough loses its characteristic chewiness.