This Grandma Club was both an excursion and some adventuring in the kitchen. First, let me clarify that the mochi we made is NOT the type that is the ice cream. You know that stuff that the ice cream is wrapped in? That is the mochi part and that is what we made.
Ah, but to make it, we needed to get some special ingredients. Special ingredients gave us an excuse to go to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights. That place was great. We got lunch, bubble tea, and we bought what we needed (and then some) for the mochi making. If you are in the Chicagoland area, you should check it out.
OK, so what do you need? Here is the rundown:
• 1 pound mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
• 2 1/2 cups white sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 cups water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
• 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
• 1 1/2 cups potato starch
VERY IMPORTANT - you need a plastic spatula and plastic knife. If you don't want to cry, get these two things.
We couldn't find potato starch, so we used tapioca starch instead. The starch is used for the dusting, which is very important, but easily substituted. Here is the recipe we used and below is what the mochi looks liks fresh out of the oven. But, first, what you have to do to get it to this state.
After we assembled our ingredients, we:
• Preheated the oven to 350 degrees F and greased a 9x13 inch pan.
• With all that set, we whisked together the rice flour, sugar, and baking powder. In another bowl, we mixed-up the water, vanilla, coconut milk and food coloring.
• Then we stirred together the two mixtures and poured the concoction into the greased pan.
The recipe said to cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour. We think it could have gone for a little more–maybe 15 more minutes. Before you do any cutting, make sure the mochi cools completely when taken out of the oven. Since we are grannies, we decided to fill that hour with a puzzle.
After the mochi cools is when the fun starts...turning out the mochi from the greased pan. Here is what the recipe says to do: "Turn the pan of mochi out onto a clean surface that has been dusted with potato starch. Cut into bite size pieces using a plastic knife. The mochi does not stick as much to plastic knives." Yeah...our mochi didn't just plop out of the pan. In hindsight, we probably should have greased the pan better. I ended-up coaxing the mochi out with a plastic spatula.
We then dusted the hell out of the thing with the tapioca starch and got to work cutting it with plastic knives. Now, there are three things I will warn you about mochi:
1) It is sticky as all get out.
2) It will reconnect with itself if you don't keep the cut strips separate.
3) It feels like...how to I say this delicately? Human flesh. Yes, it feels like flesh.
Now, I know with that third point you are probably asking me why the hell you should even make this. I'll tell you why: it is delicious. So, grab a friend, dust the fuck out of that mochi, and start cutting your wee cubes.
I really mean DUST IT. It will stick to itself. We ended-up using cleaned take-out containers and separated the layers with parchment paper. We found that the texture was much improved when stored in the fridge. We didn't think the mochi had to be kept in the fridge (for any other reason than firmer texture), but Cinnamon kept hers out on the counter overnight and it grew some mold. So, perhaps keep your mochi in the fridge for both texture improvement and mold deterrent!