I grew up on chubby daifuku mochi filled with sweet red beans, salty-sweet glazed mochi on a stick, and plain mochi toasted and dunked in soy sauce and soup. We always got our stash at the Japanese grocery store. Homemade mochi is known to be a pain in the butt because you have to form it into perfect spheres while it’s steaming hot and goopy. Then I had a Hawaiian roommate who made something in the oven that changed everything – baked mochi! It’s easy, quick, and makes people happy. This is the master recipe that I use (many Hawaiian recipes call for butter, which lends a nice flavor, and milk, which I never have on hand). My favorite additions are sweetened red bean paste (sink it in the dough before baking for a delicious filling), cooked berries thickened with a bit of yucca powder (you can sub cornstarch or tapioca), and mango puree. You can explain to confused Latino relatives and friends that it is rice natilla (I didn’t come up with that description, my uncle did). This is the penultimate comfort food for some and just plain weird for others.
- Eggs - 4
- Vegetable oil - 1/2 c (can substitute melted butter)
- Coconut milk - 1 14oz can (can also use milk, evaporated milk, or juice)
- Water - 1/2 c
- Sugar - 1 c
- Mochiko flour - 1 lb sweet glutinous rice flour - I prefer the local Koda Farms brand
- Baking powder - 2 tsp
- Topping/Filling - 1 c try mango puree, cooked thickened berries, or red bean paste
This makes one large 11"x13" pan (thinner mochi), one 9"x13" pan (thicker mochi) or two 8"x8" pans (thicker mochi). I prefer the thinner mochi in the 11"x13" pan. You can make half this recipe for a "normal" amount.
- Grease the pan or line it with parchment paper
- Whisk together wet ingredients. Once well blended add dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth. Don't worry about overmixing, there aren't any glutens in this recipe to toughen things up.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) (weighing the pans is totally unnecessary but satisfying)
- Drizzle stripes of your topping of choice onto the mochi and drag a chopstick in the opposite direction to create a marbled pattern. If using red bean paste, sink it below the surface.
- Bake at 350 degrees 25-30 minutes for 8"x8" pans and 30-35 minutes for a 9"x13" pan. Don't be alarmed if a large bubble forms while baking, it'll deflate while cooling. Let it cool completely on a wire rack and cut into 1" squares. Mochi is best the first day and does not respond well to freezing or refrigeration. If you have to stick it in the fridge or if it's a few days old, be sure to toast it before eating.
[caption id="attachment_406" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Mango Coconut Mochi[/caption]
For a crowd: You will be shocked at how quickly this disappears, particularly among chewy-rice-eating populations. For 50 people I make two batches in large 11"x 13" pans and cut into 1" squares. Don't mix more than one batch at a time or bake more than one batch at a time or things tend to get unruly. There's usually enough for a few mochi enthusiasts to take some home.