My first memories and experiences of making mochi were in my junior year of college, with my best friend Jeska. You see, Jeska has an unfortunately long list of foods that upset her stomach, including an essential ingredient of most Western desserts: eggs. This meant that most of the baked goods that I made were, well, anti-Jeska food..
Fortunately, she brought with her to our new apartment a handwritten recipe for making mochi from scratch, given to her by her mom (Thanks, Auntie!) Shortly after, we commenced on a mochi-making experiment. About an hour later, we were covered with cornstarch, ouch-ing from the hot mochi mixture, but very happy with the results. We now had chewy, Jeska-friendly dessert that we made all by ourselves.
Maybe it was the fear of the thought of wrestling that hot dough, or the influence of my husband’s aversion to having food-coated fingers….But sadly, I only made mochi a few times on my own after that, despite my love for all things chewy and QQ.
While perusing Taiwanese cooking shows on YouTube, I found a recipe for hakka-style mochi. We tend to think of mochi as having a filling (red bean paste comes to mind first), but this hakka style mochi is made by showering the mochi bits with coating; usually peanut or black sesame.
This may not have the red bean paste filling, but the peanut and black sesame are no-fuss and simple to prepare. A pair of chopsticks is highly recommended for this recipe, as it helps shape the mochi and keep your hands dough-free.
ke jia ma shu (mua ji)
Hakka Style Mochi
Ingredients for the mochi dough:
130 grams glutinous rice flour
30 grams granulated sugar
200 grams water
1 Tbsp vegetable/canola/peanut oil
Ingredients for the coating:
1/2 cup roasted and ground peanuts OR 1/2 cup peanut powder
1/2 cup toasted and ground black sesame 1/2 cup black sesame powder
2 Tbsp granulated sugar (optional)
1) Whisk the ingredients until no clumps remain. If you have a trusty indirect steamer like a Tatung (highly recommended! I love 6-cup and 3 cup models), add the mochi dough to the inner pot, then add one cup of water to the outside, then let the ingredients steam for one cycle. If not, steam the mixture on the stovetop for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed by the rice flour, and the mixture turns somewhat translucent and there is no more opaque white anywhere.
2) While the mixture is steaming, prepare one or two coatings- 1/2 cup peanut or sesame powder plus 1 Tbsp sugar each. Use separate shallow bowls for each coating for zero contamination, or use the same bowl but different sides, to have some mixing/swirl effect.
3) Once the mixture is cooked, use a pair of chopsticks to vigorously stir the cooked dough for a minute, both to help make sure all the ingredients are evenly mixed, as well as help make the mochi extra chewy. The more you stir, the chewier they will get. If you are doing a big batch, feel free to use a hand or stand mixer to help you with this part.
4) Use your chopsticks to pick up a clump of dough (about the diameter of a quarter, or bigger, if you want to get it done faster), then, grasping one chopstick with each hand, alternate the dough between chopsticks, using each chopstick to scrape the other, until you get the ball of mochi to release into the coating of choice. Then, roll the dough around in the coating until it is completed coated- this will also prevent each mochi from sticking to one another. Repeat Step 4 until all the dough is used up.
-Over time, the coating will absorb moisture from the mochi dough, so these are definitely best made and eaten the same day. If you must, you can wrap them with plastic wrap overnight or store in an airtight container. They will suffer a small change in the texture of the coating, and have a pleasant (to me) increased chewiness in the mochi dough.
-Mochi taste best when served on little toothpicks, or with some oolong or red (black) tea 😀
-I prefer the coating with no sugar added, as the mochi dough is already sweetened, but do what you wish.
-For easy clean-up, soak the dough bowl in water overnight- don’t even bother trying to clean it the same day..