There are a couple of things that inspired this post. The first is our somewhat unhealthy relationship to mochi ice cream. The speed at which we blow through a box of these blissful little bon bons is frightening. The second is Namiko Chen over at Just One Cookbook. I discovered Nami and her incredibly clear mochi tutorial while resarching how it’s done. What I had understood to be a relatively complex process, she made much less intimidating.
In the spirit of total transparency, I didn’t nail this the first time. Handling the mochi takes some getting used to and the cadence of each step was a bit tricky, with the ice cream melting so quickly ‘n all. That said, it took me a couple of rounds. I learned some valuable lessons along the way.
First, the size of the ice cream ball and the diameter of the mochi wrapper are very important. Nami uses this cookie scoop for the ice cream but I wound up using a tablespoon sized measuring spoon and it was perfect. The cookie cutter should be 3.5″- 4″ in diameter.
The other is to not skip the chilling of the mochi between tasks. Ice cream being ice cream it doesn’t like to be handled. The cooler the dough, your hands and your kitchen the better.
And if you ever wondered what the powdery stuff on the outside of your mochi was, it’s potato starch. You want to keep it close when handling the dough. Mochi is sti-cky and you’ll need to keep your surfaces and rolling pin covered.
I’ve included Nami’s recipe below but I encourage you to head over to Just One Cookbook if you decide to give this a try. In addition to her great instruction, Nami shares a video that brings the process to life in a really helpful way.
- ¾ cup shiratamako* (100 g) or Mochiko* (115 g) (See Note 1)
- ¾ cup (180 ml) water
- ¼ cup sugar (See Note 2)
- ½ cup (100 g) potato starch/corn starch
- Ice cream of your choice
- WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- 12 aluminum/silicone cupcake liners
- A cookie dough scoop or tablespoon measuring spoon (smaller than an ice cream scooper)
- A rolling pin
- 3.5 - 4" round cookie cutter or a round bowl
- Using the cookie scoop, scoop out ice cream into aluminum/silicone cupcake liners. The ice cream will melt quickly so I recommend freezing them immediately for a few hours or until ice cream balls are completely frozen solid.
- Once the ice cream balls are frozen solid and ready, you can start making mochi. Combine shiratamako and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk all together.
- Add water and mix well until combined.
- Microwave Method: If you’re using a microwave to cook mochi, cover the bowl with some plastic wrap (do not cover too tight). Put the bowl in the microwave and heat it on high heat (1200w) for 1 minute. Take it out and stir with wet rubber spatula. Cover again and cook for 1 minute. Stir again, cover, and cook for 30 seconds to finish cooking. The color of mochi should change from white to almost translucent.
Steaming Method: If you’re using a steamer, cover the steamer lid with a towel so the condensation won’t drop into the mochi mixture. Put the bowl into a steamer basket and cover to cook for 15 minutes. Half way cooking, stir with wet rubber spatula and cover to finish cooking. The color of mochi should change from white to almost translucent.
- Cover the work surface with parchment paper and dust it generously with potato starch. Then transfer the cooked mochi on top.
- To prevent from sticking, sprinkle more potato starch on top of the mochi. Once it’s cool down a bit, you can spread the mochi into a thin layer with your hands or with a rolling pin. Make sure to apply potato starch on your hands and the rolling pin. I recommend using a rolling pin because it’s easier to evenly spread out.
- Transfer the mochi with parchment paper onto a large baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes until the mochi is set.
- Take out the mochi from the refrigerator and cut out 7-8 circles with the cookie cutter.
- Dust off the excess potato starch with a pastry brush. If you find some sticky part, cover the area with potato starch first then dust off. Place a plastic wrap on a plate and then mochi wrapper on top, then lay another layer of plastic wrapper down. Repeat for all wrappers. With leftover mochi dough, roll into a ball and then flatten into a thin layer again and cut out into more circle wrappers (I could make about 12 mochi wrappers).
- Now we’re ready to form mochi ice cream balls. On the work surface, place one sheet of plastic wrap with a mochi layer on top. Take out one ice cream ball from the freezer and put it on top of the mochi wrapper. Pinch the four corners of the mochi layer together to wrap the ice cream ball.
- When mochi gets sticky, put some potato starch on the sticky area and seal the opening. Quickly cover with the plastic wrap and twist to close. Place each mochi ice cream into a cupcake pan to keep the shape. You will need to work on one mochi ice cream at a time in order to keep the ice cream frozen all times. Put mochi ice cream back into the freezer for a few hours. When you’re ready to serve, keep them outside for a few minutes until mochi gets soften a little bit.