Do you agree that mochi ice cream is the perfect ending to a meal at a top-notch Japanese restaurant? It’s no surprise that this iconic Japanese treat is making its way around the world, with its soft and chewy mochi (a Japanese rice cake) outside and refreshingly refreshing ice cream within.

Mochi ice cream is surprisingly simple to make at home. And far zanier than merely adding a tub of Trader Joe’s mochi ice cream to your shopping basket. Making this mochi ice cream is quick and easy, and you can really put your own spin on it.

This time I’m making vanilla ice cream, but the possibilities are endless! You can make this dish your own by using any flavor of ice cream you like, be it store-bought, homemade, dairy-free, or even sorbet.

How To Make Mochi

The allure of mochi is undeniable. These soft, chewy treats have taken the culinary world by storm, offering a taste and texture unlike any other. But what exactly is mochi? Let’s explore the nuances, the culture, and the mystique surrounding this beloved delicacy.

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What is Mochi Ice Cream?

Glutinous rice is milled into flour to make mochi, which is then baked into a rice cake. It’s eaten all year long in Japan, but notably during the New Year celebrations.

However, instead of using cookie dough, mochi is used as the sweet rice dough surrounding the ice cream in this dish. It’s the perfect complement to ice cream thanks to its amazing spongy texture and subtle sweetness.

What You Need To Make Mochi Ice Cream

  • Calibration cups
  • a little tray
  • Plastic wrap with parchment paper
  • A spoon or a scoop for ice cream
  • Reheat-safe dish
  • Silicone spatula
  • Optional food coloring
  • Rice Flour, or Sweet

How To Make Mochi Ice Cream

Some delicacies, like mochi ice cream, may look difficult to create, but I assure you, it is surprisingly easy. Neither had I ever been able to do so previously. In fact, if you want to engage the kids in the kitchen, this is a fantastic activity for them to take on.

To prepare mochi ice cream, follow these steps:

Step 1: Put 12 scoops of ice cream, each about the size of 2 tablespoons, on a tray lined with parchment paper using a tiny ice cream scoop or a spoon. Put this tray in the freezer right away.

Step 2: Wrap a big bowl containing the sweet rice flour, sugar, and water with plastic and place it in the microwave. Put it in the microwave for a minute and see what happens.

Step 3: Remove any lumps from the rice flour mixture with a whisk, then cover with plastic wrap and microwave for a further minute.

Step 4: Stir the rice mixture one more by dipping a rubber spatula in water. The dough has become too sticky to stir at this point.

Step 5: Last but not least, cover it and give it another 30 seconds in the microwave. (Add food coloring now if you’re using it.)

Step 6: Spread out a large sheet of parchment paper on the kitchen surface and sprinkle it with cornstarch (or potato starch).

Step 7: The dough should be transferred to the cornstarch using a moist spatula. Sprinkle additional cornstarch over the dough.

Step 8: Flatten the dough into a rectangle, no thinner than a quarter of an inch. avoid sprinkling cornstarch over the top and bottom of the dough to avoid it from sticking.

Step 9: After you’ve rolled out the parchment paper, put it on a baking sheet and chill it in the fridge until it’s firm. It will take about 30 minutes to complete.

Step 10: 10 Cut the dough into 3-3/4″ (9 1/2 cm) rounds after it has set. Use an empty tin can or glass in place of a cookie or biscuit cutter.

Step 11: Pick up a cornstarch-dusted dough disc and gently brush it off. Immediately after, rapidly place one scoop of ice cream in the middle of the circle. Squeeze the dough together and press it around the ice cream scoop to seal it.

Step 12: Wrap each mochi ice cream ball in cling wrap, seam side down, and return to the freezer until firm. Use the remaining dough discs and ice cream spheres in a similar fashion.

Step 13: The mochi needs to be frozen for at least two hours.

Step 14: Mochi ice cream should be left to soften for a few minutes before eating.

Mochi Defined: More than Just Smashed Rice?:

While mochi might seem like mere “smashed rice”, it’s a refined process of pounding steamed glutinous rice, transforming it into a doughy consistency. This careful preparation creates its distinctive texture.

The Key Ingredient: Mochiko Flour:

Mochi is often made using Mochiko flour—a special type of rice flour made from short-grain glutinous rice. This flour is the secret to mochi’s unique stretchy texture.

Sticky Situation: Is Mochi the Same as Sticky Rice?

Mochi is made from glutinous rice, known for its stickiness. However, the two aren’t interchangeable. While sticky rice is a dish in its own right, mochi involves pounding this rice to achieve its texture.

Mochi and Babies: A Safety Guide:

Mochi’s sticky texture poses a choking hazard, especially to young children. It’s best to avoid giving mochi to babies and to exercise caution with toddlers.

Mochi’s Popularity: Why is Mochi Famous?

Mochi’s versatility and unique texture have made it a hit. It can be sweet or savory, filled or plain, and is a staple during Japanese New Year celebrations.

Mochi: A Dessert, A Candy, or Both?

Mochi straddles the line between dessert and candy. With fillings like sweetened red bean, it’s a dessert. When smaller, flavored, and without fillings, it leans towards being a candy.

Consuming Mochi: Best Practices

Mochi can be enjoyed both hot and cold, though its texture changes. Warm mochi is softer and stretchier, while cold mochi, especially ice cream-filled, offers a chewy contrast.

Mochi Around the World

Japan may be mochi’s birthplace, but its fame is global. Various adaptations exist, from the ice-cream filled versions in the U.S. to similar rice cakes in other Asian countries.

The Cultural Significance of Mochi in Japan

For the Japanese, mochi is more than food—it’s tradition. Consumed especially during New Year’s, it symbolizes good fortune and longevity.

Tracing the Origins: Mochi’s Korean vs. Japanese Roots:

While mochi is quintessentially Japanese, similar rice cakes exist in Korean cuisine, known as “tteok”. The preparation methods and uses differ, but the cultural significance is akin.

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Mochi, a type of Japanese rice cake, can be found in both sweet and savory iterations. Mochitsuki is a Japanese New Year’s custom in which the sweet glutinous rice is steamed and then pounded to form mochi (tiny sticky rice cakes).

This video explaining how Mochitsuki is made is fantastic. The sticky rice flour in this recipe is cooked in either the microwave or the oven to create a quicker and easier version of traditional mochi.

Mochi, with its delightful chew and rich history, is a treat worth savoring. Its journey from a traditional Japanese staple to a global culinary sensation is a testament to its universal appeal. Whether you enjoy it as a candy, dessert, or cultural experience, mochi has something for everyone.