Mochi is a Japanese snack from the wagashi category. It is not dessert, but a tea-time snack. Wagashi is a confectionery that was meant to be eaten with green tea. It tends to be sweet to accompany the unsweetened hot tea.

Green tea and brown sugar mochi

Green tea and brown sugar mochi

So, here’s my week’s attempt at making mochi without a proper kitchen. It’s quite easy to do, if somewhat messy. But it’s a lot less messier than my mantou attempts (which after 2 tries, still leaves me unsatisfied).

There are four ways to make mochi.

1. Traditional labour intensive one, involving soaking glutinous rice and cooking it. Followed by impressive display of male prowess pounding said rice till it turns into a sticky unrecognisable lump.

2. Using mochi making machine. I’ve never seen it. It’s available in Japan and looks like cross between rice cooker and dough mixer.

3. Steaming.

4. Microwave.

Since I’m kitchen-challenged and space-challenged and male-muscles-challenged and geographically-challenged, I opted for the microwave cheat sheet.

Recipe for microwave mochi

Mochi mix

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour (mochiko or mochi flour or tepung pulut)
  • 1 cup water

It’s that simple! Just glutinous rice flour and water = plain pure mochi. And since glutinous rice flour is longer to type than mochiko, I shall use mochiko from here on.

  • 0 – 1/2 cup sugar

Sugar – it depends on how sweet you want it and if you’re planning to eat immediately or refrigerate. If you plan to put it in refrigerator for a day or two, add a bit of sugar (or wheat flour) to keep the mochi soft. For the NT multi-purpose efficiency obsessed cook, try brown sugar. Flavour, fragrance and colour all in one ingredient. And you can use the rest for cappuccino – not to be drunk with mochi!)

  • Colouring / flavours (Purely optional. I don’t use food colouring. But I like macha green tea powder. Alternatives are fruit juice and chinese/japanese tea, cocoa powder, instant coffee. Pretty much anything you want and can stomach.)
  • Some potato (katakuriko) / corn flour for dusting (aka anti-sticky)

Essentially, my personal favourite is a ratio of 4:4:1 of mochiko:water:sugar for daifuku.

2:2:1 of mochiko:water:sugar for non-filling mochi.


  1. Mix mochiko and sugar and dry flavours (cocoa powder/macha) in a plastic or ceramic microwavable bowl. Don’t use metal – mochi loves to stick to metal and it’s going inside a microwave!
  2. Add water and stir till all are well mixed and dissolved. You should something like a thin watery batter.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 1 minute high. I just use round plastic container from take-away food. It all ready have a cover, so I need not use plastic wrap. No wastage of both space and landfill.
  4. Take it out, stir the sticky half cooked mess. Get them to ball up in the middle if possible.
  5. Cover and microwave again 1 minute.
  6. Take out and stir. Check if it’s cooked (ie sticky and translucent and slightly puffed). If it is, go to next step. If not, microwave again for 30 seconds.
  7. Prep a flat surface. Dust surface with potato flour.
  8. Plop  mochi into a blob on the potato flour.
  9. Dust top part of mochi with more flour.
  10. Leave it to cool down.
  11. When it’s cool, dust your hands with potato flour.
  12. Roll and shape mochi according to your design. Remember to use plastic, ceramic and plenty of potato flour. Otherwise, if you get mochi stuck in your hair, it’s not my fault.

Now Daifuku is special kind of mochi. It’s mochi stuffed with red bean paste (anko) and other stuff.  Strawberry daifuku has strawberry wrapped in anko, then wrapped in mochi. The sweet tartness of the fruit really balance the sticky and mostly tasteless mochi. Other fruits to try are mango, grapes, rambutan, and cherry tomatoes. Like I said, anything you can stomach. Oh! I should try steamed or roasted chestnut next time. Chestnut flour/powder is not so commonly available here, but I fancy you could use chestnut paste to substitute for anko. I really don’t like red bean. Not in soup, not in pao, not in ice kacang, not in anything. Mochi makes red bean just slightly more edible to me.

Daifuku Mochi

Daifuku Mochi

My nanny used to make ones stuffed with ground peanuts and sugar. She’s Malaysian, so she calls it muachi and me being clueless till now just realised that THAT was mochi! All be it, the Chinese version. I should ask her how she make hers when I visit next year. She probably used the steam version. She is not kitchen or space-challenged like me.

Commercial nyonya version has the pieces cut into tiny half-bite size pieces, then covered with ground peanut  (usually mixture of peanut, sugar and a little bit of salt). Also called muachi.

I’ve tried another version, can’t remember where, but home-made. It’s pieces cut small, but covered with watery brown sugar and sesame seed. No flour for those who don’t like raw flour.

The other Chinese varieties are tangyuan (rice balls or rice dumplings). Normally, boiled in watery syrup, plain or stuffed with peanuts, sesame seed past, or anko. My personal favourite is small tiny ones in sweet rice wine with fermented rice and osmanthus flower (guihua). It’s Chinese version of Malay tapai (fermented rice).

Also, while not exactly mochi, onde-onde is pretty mochi-like. It is a nyonya kuih made of glutinous rice ball. It is flavoured and coloured green with juice of screwpine pandan leaves. It’s filling is watery gula melaka (palm sugar) and it is rolled into grated coconut. It is small, bite sized ball of light green with white accents. When you bite into it, the black gula melaka oozes out and fills your mouth. Yummy!

Disection of Strawberry Daifuku mochi

Disection of Strawberry Daifuku mochi

Dissection of Black Seedless Grape Daifuku Mochi

Mochi in brown sugar syrup

Mochi in brown sugar syrup


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