Looks like you're going to be seeing and hearing a lot about about mochi this year. And for good reason. If you're not already familiar with this Japanese sweet treat, here's what it is and why it's going to be everywhere soon.
Mochi (pronounced MOE-chee) is a Japanese dessert made of sweet glutinous rice flour, or mochigome. With a chewy, smooth, elastic texture, mochi dough is often tinted with green tea powder (matcha) or other food colorings and wrapped around a sweet center to form small, bite-size confections. In its traditional form, this kind of mochi is filled with sweet red bean paste.
But in a more modernized version, pastel-colored mochi dough is wrapped around mini scoops of ice cream to make some of the prettiest bite-size frozen treats in town. Flavors include chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mango, coffee, green tea, and sweet lychee.
Up to now, packaged mochi ice cream could be found in some market freezer sections (looking at you, Trader Joe's). But what's blowing up in food-lovers' news feeds right now is what Whole Foods is doing with mochi ice cream. Behold, the self-serve mochi ice cream bar:
Currently, lucky mochi ice cream afficionados in Chicago and Southern California can hit up their local Whole Foods for the full mochi bar experience. The rest of us are relegated to Trader Joe's, Asian specialty stores and restaurants, and some supermarkets. Or we can DIY.
Watch as Chef John shows you how to make mochi ice cream using a plastic-lined egg carton to mold the ice cream balls. So clever!
Wrapping mochi dough around ice cream is only one way to enjoy mochi. Try these other recipes, too.
Easy Mochi has a sweet red bean paste center.
You can also cut mochi into squares to eat like soft candy. Microwave Mochi is an easy introduction to making mochi this way.
Be sure to use the right kind of rice flour for mochi. Look for sweet rice flour, sometimes called sweet glutinous rice flour or glutinous rice flour. Despite its name, there's no gluten in glutinous rice flour.
More Sweet Ideas
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* Check out these 2-ingredient desserts. Talk about easy peasy.