How to make Japanese Rice Cakes


Winter is the season of people enjoy mochi in Japan.
There are many types of mochi from salty mochi to sweet mochi, even mochi ice in Japan.
In old days people made mochi by hand using a mortar and a pestle.
But people rarely make mochi by hand nowadays because there are many shops that sell mochi.
And there are no time to make it or no place to hold big mortar and the pestle in the house.
Only local places or in some winter festival we can see people making mochi by hand.
Here I introduce how to make mochi in old style and modern style using modern cookware.

Making Japanese Rice Cakes by Usu Mortar and Kine Pestle

  • Prepare Mochigome
    Prepare Mochigome first.
    It is not ordinary rice but glutinous rice for making mochi.
    Its texture is different from ordinary rice.
    Wash the glutinous rice several times in a basket
    Soak the glutinous rice overnight in water.
    I think 20 hours is enough.
    If you don’t have enough time, use hot water and soak glutinous rice in the water for about 3 hours.
  • Drain Mochigome or glutinous rice
    Drain the glutinous rice in a strainer before cook.
    1 hour before cooking it is OK
  • Steam
    Steam it in a bamboo steamer called Seiro over high heat for about 1 hour.
    People also spread a drainboard called Sunoko on the bottom when steaming.
    You can see the steam in 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Prepare a mortar and a pestle
    Warm a mortar and a pestle using hot water 15 minutes before using them.
    This mortar is called Usu and the pestle is called Kine in Japanese.
    Change the hot water couple of times before using.
  • Pounding Mochi
    Put the steamed glutinous rice into the mortar and knead it by the pestle first.
    And pound it using the pestle while others knead it at intervals.
    This action is called mochitsuki.
    Mochitsuki is made by two people, one pounds and the other knead mochi by turns.
    This kneading is called Kaeshite in Japanese.
    This is, technically speaking, to gather mochi from the bottom side into the center rather than to knead.
    You need to turn all the glutinous rice over one or two times.
    Actually this pounding and kneading by two people is so fast and it looks like a kind of performance.
    I always wonder how the one can pound mochi without hitting the hand of the other’s.
    They have to be in perfectly sync to make it.
    When it became sticky enough you can finish Mochitsuki.
  • Enjoy Mochi
    Cut the mochi by hand for proper size.
    And enjoy it using the anything flavor you like.
    We usually add Kinako (Soybean flour), Anko (Sweet bean paste), Goma (Sesami), Nori (Seaweed), Daikon (Raddish),etc.
  • Making Japanese Rice Cakes by Rice Cooker

    • Prepare Mochigome
      Prepare 3 go (about 450 grams) of mochiGome or glutinous rice.
      As I said before it is not ordinary rice but glutinous rice for making mochi.
      Wash the glutinous rice several times in a basket.
      Soak the Mochigome 1 or 2 hours in water.
    • Prepare Rice Cooker
      Cook it with water of 360 cc in a rice cooker.
    • Kneading
      Put the glutinous rice into the bowl and knead it using a wooden pestle or something like that.
      For about 15 minutes, when you find it became smooth and sticky enough, that’s the mochi
    • Enjoy Mochi
      You can cut it by hand.
      Sprinkling powder made of flour (Uchiko in Japanese) to not to attach each other after cutting.
      And use your favorite flavor to enjoy mochi.

    Making Japanese Rice Cakes by Microwave Oven

    • Prepare Mochigome
      Prepare 200g of mochiGome or glutinous rice.
    • Cook it in Microwave Oven
      Cook it in a microwave oven for about 5 minutes at 500 to 600 w.
      If you use 800 w or 1000 w the time becomes 3 to 4 or less than that.
    • Mix and nuke again
      Mix and knead the glutinous rice well and put some water if you need.
      Then nuke it a few minutes again.
    • Enjoy
      All finish.
      Just enjoy with your favorite flavor.
      I think microwave oven is the easiest one.

    My Grandmother’s Recipe Mizu Mochi

    This recipe is not for the recipe to make mochi itself from the first but how to cook mochi.
    My mother told me as she had been told by her mother.
    Mochi which made were preserved as Mizumochi.
    You can not eat all the mochi at the same time but if you leave it as it is, it cracks and mold grows on the surface in the course of time.
    There was no refrigerator to preserve food in the old days.
    So people soaked the mochi into the water that it can keep good state.
    Water is called Mizu in Japanese that this was called Mizu Mochi.
    And my mother told me how to cook using this Mizu Mochi.
    I think this is my grandmother’s way of cooking Mizu Mochi that it is a one of the cooking ways.
    But I guarantee the taste.

  • Cook Mochi in a Frying Pan
    First you put some oil, about 1 table spoon, into a frying pan.
    Second put the mochi on it and cook it at medium heat for a few minutes.
  • Steaming
    Add some water and put a lid on it.
    It depends on the thickness of mochi but I usually wait 2 or 3 minutes for steaming.
  • Turn Over
    Turn the mochi over and put the lid again (Add some water if you think you need)
  • Seasoning
    Pour some soy sauce on the mochi and finish.
    Very easy but very good taste.
    Surface of the mochi is crispy and its inside is sticky.
    Roasting aroma of soy sauce adds appetite.

Where to buy Japanese Mochi

You can buy mochi anywhere if you live in Japan.
But mainly supermarket.
You can buy good quantity of mochi less than $5 dollars here.
You might find mochi at import food shop in your country, too.
If you don’t have that kind of shop you can buy this SATOU no KIRIMOCHI from Amazon.
This Satou is a famous brand of rice in Japan but I didn’t know they sell mochi in overseas.
You can also by this Hakubai Sweet Rice from Amazon if you want to make mochi from the first.
I think this mochigome is made in US as I don’t know the maker Hakubai here in Japan.
Or you might find Mochi at organic super in your country as while I travelling abroad I found some rare food in Japan at organic shop.


I think there might be some people who don’t like mochi, especially for people in overseas it is not the food getting used to because of its stickiness and its texture.
But it is really tasty if you cook it using your favorite flavor as it itself is plain taste.
Sugar, salt, chocolate, I think anything is fine as long as you enjoy it.
But please be careful, especially elderly people, as some elderly people choke to death by eating mochi every year.
It might be good to eat mochi cutting at small sizes.
Winter is the season people enjoy mochi with family in Japan.

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