There’s a wonderful Mochi Tsuki festival on our island every January where anyone can take a turn pounding fresh steamed rice with a huge wooden mallet, and we make our own mochi using the much less traditional microwave method all year. I made a batch yesterday morning as our New Year’s Day breakfast, then I got to thinking about Rosh Hashanah…We eat apples in honey then to start our year on a sweet note, and I wondered if I could sweeten our mochi with honey instead of sugar.
Happily, the answer is “Yes!”
this is my adaptation of Vegan Yum Yum’s Daifuku recipe
- 1 cup sweet rice flour (yes, it must be sweet rice flour, not regular rice flour)
- 2/3 cup water minus 2 Tablespoons
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- Tapioca, potato, or corn starch
- Microwave-safe bowl with lid (use a plate as a lid if necessary)
- Clean cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Hands that can take a bit of heat
- Fillings as desired – Optional but delicious: red bean paste, fresh or frozen berries, peanut butter, freezer jam, or whatever you want to experiment with.
Prepare your cutting board by dusting the center of it with at least 2 tablespoons of your preferred starch. Keep more starch handy – You’ll need it later.
Mix the sweet rice flour, water, and honey together well in your microwave-safe bowl. Scrape the bowl’s sides down as well as possible and use the back of your spoon to smooth the surface of the mixture. If you have a lidded bowl, so much the better – If not, turn a plate over to create a microwave-safe lid; you want steam to be caught in the bowl while it’s heating.
Cook in your microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the microwave to stir the mass together as well as possible. It will be a hot, sticky mess, but use some bossy pressure and a strong spoon to pull it all together into the smoothest ball possible.
Return to the microwave for 1 minute. Watch the ball during the final 30 seconds; it’s done if it puffs up like an overheated marshmallow during the final seconds. If you don’t see puffiness, heat it in 30 second increments until you do. The ball will deflate instantly as soon as the microwave is off, so you need to watch while it’s cooking.
Once the mochi is ready, turn it out onto your prepared cutting board. Use a spoon to help you, as the mochi will be molten, fully capable of giving you a nasty steam burn.
Dust your hands with starch and flip the mass of hot mochi over, coating it with starch on both sides. Add more starch as needed to the cutting board so that the mochi doesn’t stick.
Press the mochi into a flat rectangle about 1/2 thick.
Cut the mochi into squares, or roughly square-ish shapes – Precision isn’t necessary here, and you can make the squares whatever size you desire. When I’m adding red bean paste to our pieces, I make mine at least 1.5″ square to make room for the filling.
Working quickly so that the mochi is still hot, form each square into a circle. The surface touching your cutting board will become the top of each piece. Pick up a square so that the surface facing up stays facing up. If you’re adding filling, put a small dab of that into the center of the square.
Pinch the opposite corners of the square together in the center, then pinch the new corners into the center. Finish up by gathering any extra straight edges into the center, twisting all of the pinched corners together to make them stick.
Turn this finished piece over and set it onto a starch-dusted section of your cutting board. You should have a smooth, round piece of warm mochi, with the pinched edges hidden underneath.
Enjoy! My kids love these while they’re still warm, but they’re also tasty at room temperature later in the day. I store them in a little covered container so they don’t dry out. Whatever you do, eat them fresh on the day they’re made; fresh mochi is best.