Taste of Omisoka
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Recipe courtesy of Yoshi Okai

Homemade Mochi

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Mochi, in its many forms, is a New Year's tradition in Japan. It is made with sticky rice and can be either sweet or savory. The great thing about mochi is you can prepare some of it sweet, then present a savory version with the remaining mochi the next day or even later the same night.


Mochi Dough Base:

Mochi Toppings:

Sweet Mochi Toppings:


Special equipment:
a rice cooker; a wooden bowl; a thick wooden stick or pestle
  1. For the mochi dough base: Wash the rice gently until the water runs clear, 5 to 8 times, then drain. Cook the rice with 2 1/2 cups water in a rice cooker according to the manufacturer directions for sushi/sweet rice, about 30 minutes.
  2. Place the cooked rice in a wooden or stone bowl. (I don’t recommend stainless steel or plastic bowls, which will make the rice wet or too soft.) Smash the rice with a thick wooden stick or pestle. Use your hands to turn the rice and continue to pound with the stick until it is a smooth and sticky dough, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Portion out 20 to 24 mochi, about 2 tablespoons of dough per portion. Have a small bowl of water nearby to lightly wet hands if the dough is too sticky. Shape each portion into a round patty about 1 1/2 inches thick and dust each side of the mochi with mochiko or potato starch.
  4. For the mochi toppings: To make a sweet miso sauce, combine the miso, sugar and sake in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add your desired number of plain mochi and grill, brushing with soy sauce a couple of times on each side, until the mochi are caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  6. Brush some of the remaining plain mochi (reserve some of them to serve with the sweet toppings) with about 1 tablespoon of the sweet miso sauce and top with a sprinkle of shichimi. To serve the savory mochi, wrap the soy-grilled and sweet miso-glazed mochi in nori and place on a plate or platter.
  7. For the sweet mochi toppings: Mix the kinako with the sugar in a small bowl. Dip to coat both sides of your desired number of mochi. Top each remaining plain mochi with adzuki paste, then sprinkle with the remaining kinako sugar, if desired. Serve on a plate or platter.

Cook’s Note

The rice measurement is using U.S cups. If using a Japanese traditional measuring cup, the amount is 3 cups or 540 milliliters. Adzuki paste is available at Asian markets.