If you haven’t tried mochi yet, you’re missing out! Mochi is a soft, chewy, delicious Japanese dessert that comes in many different varieties and flavors. It is enjoyed year-round in Japan but especially during the Japanese New Year.
The exact origin of mochi is unknown, but it is believed that the basic pounding technique used for making mochi originated from China and was eventually passed to Japan. Archaeologists have found steaming tools similar to those used in making mochi which date all the way back to the Kofun Period, or between 250 - 538 AD. Mochi production in Japan might have begun as far back as the Yayoi period, which started in 300 BC. Many types of mochi are tied to the celebration of the Japanese New Year, including kagami mochi (“mirror” mochi, originated around 1185 - 1333 AD), a soup containing mochi (ozoni), and grilled mochi (yakimochi). Other popular types of mochi include strawberry wrapped mochi (ichigo daifuku), cherry blossom (sakura), sweet bean and white miso (hanabiri), skewered round dumplings (dango), and many, many more.
How Mochi is Made
Mochi is made using a short grain glutinous rice (called mochigome) that is steamed then pounded repeatedly, by either traditional mallets or modern machines. The repetitive pounding process turns the rice into dough after time, with two very key ingredients added during this process: water and air. Water is added to tools and hands that come into contact with the dough so that they do not stick. Pounding adds air to the dough, which contributes to mochi’s uniquely soft and stretchy texture.
How to Enjoy Mochi!
Today, mochi is still incredibly popular and beloved in Japan, and its popularity has spread globally. Here in the U.S., mochi is often found in Japanese restaurants in ice cream form! Soft, chewy mochi is wrapped around a ball of ice cream, perfectly complementing the creamy sweetness of the ice cream for a wonderful fusion of textures and tastes. It comes in many flavors, from traditional ones like red bean and green tea, fruit flavors like strawberry and mango, classics like vanilla and coffee, and many more.
Try mochi ice cream today here at Sushi Shack in Plano, or freshly made mochi if you can find it locally! If you aren’t a fan of mochi already, chances are that after your first bite you’ll become a huge fan of this unique, chewy, and utterly delicious dessert!