Japan – Mochi (Japanese Rice Cake)

by Zayna Khan

MOCHI, RICE CAKE or Japanese rice mochi cake is the dish which has many names and tastes amazing. It has simple ingredients like water, corn starch, sugar, sometimes glutinous rice, and flavors of your choice are added. This dish has few ingredients but the cooking technique is a little difficult. Because the accurate water content, temperature, and setting time are required to have a good amazing flavorful textured rice cake. Like all the dishes, Japanese cuisine has very light low calories desserts like rice cake. We can add artificial food colors, flavors, and even fresh fruits to make it more healthy and palatable. We can do whatever we want to do with this dish like adding flavors, fruits, nuts, etc.

This dish is eaten around the whole year but especially on new year’s eve and served as the Japanese traditional dessert.


Mochi is the type of starch that is used in making this rice cake. MOCHIGOME is the component which is used in making this rice you can say MOCHI or MOCHIGOME. From Mochi, short or medium grain Japonica rice is obtained and then used in this rice cake.

We have two types of Japonica rice from which different content of different Mochi is obtained.

  • Short and medium-grain japonica rice has a low level of amylose starch from which Mochi is obtained and by getting this low level of amylose and high level of Amylopectin. We have the gel-like consistency of the mochi to make it gelatinous rice.
  • Other normal grain size rice has different content and makes it like a bowl of normal protein rice.

Mochi rice cake is similar to the Dango, which is a rice dumpling. It can be made by mochi but preferably Dango is made by URUCHI RICE FLOUR.


This rice is different with different seasons and festivals like on which occasion this cake is served. The flavors, textures, shapes are based on the event on which it is served, Like the following :


On Japanese new year’s eve, many special types of cakes are cooked and served. On which this rice cake is cooked. This rice cake is cooked in a unique manner that represents the religious vibes and warmth of the event. These types of cakes are served on new year’s eve and dinners to welcome the new year with a sweet and fresh mind.

Following are few rice cakes serve at new year’s eve :


Kagami mochi is a type of Japanese tradition to decore the house with these sweet mirror cakes. At the Celebration, these mochi Kagami are broken and then eaten up to enjoy the feast of the Japanese new year.


Zoni is a special Japanese new year’s soup having rice cake made up of mochi. In soup, mochi rice cake, carrots, Kamabocco, tofu, corn, soy sauce, and some seasonings. This soup is a must tradition at Japanese new year.


This is not a cake but mochi is roasted over the pan and than coat with sugar to give a nice crumb and serve on Japanese new years.


Girls day, doll’s day, Hinamatsuri, or women’s day is celebrated every 3rd march in Japan. This special day has a ritual to serve ”HISHI MOCHI DESSERT” This is the rhomboid or square-shaped dessert which is layered into three colors like white, green, and red. These three colors have three different flavors:

  • Jasmine flower
  • Water caltrop chestnut
  • Mugwort flower.


Sakura is a flower of spring. It is also known as Cherry blossom. It is a symbol of spring. The special rice cake served on the welcome of the spring season as a festival is ” SAKURA MOCHI RICE CAKE

This is a pink-colored, sakura-flavored rice cake made up of mochi in which sakura is infused and added to give a nice spring festival. This flavor is infused in such a way that it may give the aroma of spring. Pink color like the flowers make it more unique and loveable.


The only difference between between mochiko and mochitsuki is the traditional and modern way of cooking and serving mochi rice cake.

  • MOCHITSUKI is the traditional mochi pounding ceremony. Glutinous rice is soaked and than cooked with traditional ingredients. These sticky rice is then cooked and turn into a bowl of mushy rice. This cooked rice is set into desired shape and then serve.
  • MOCHIKO is the sweet rice flour that is used in making rice cakes. Dough of this rice flour is knead and then turn into desired shape. This is cooked and flavoring is added.


  • Calories = 100
  • Carbohydrates = 30 grams
  • Protein = 5 grams
  • Fat = 2 grams
  • Cholestrol = 1 mg
  • Sodium = 1 mg


There are many variations of this rice cake according to the different elements, ingredients, texture and taste :

  • Dango
  • Manju
  • Yokan
  • Sakumochi
  • Muffles
  • Warabi mochi
  • Tangyuan
  • Cantonese, etc

Regional varieties of MOCHI RICE CAKE, outside the Japan

  • Phillipines: Tikoy, Moche, Galapong, espasol, etc
  • Korea: Chaltteok, chapssal-teokk
  • Malaysia: Kuih Kochi
  • Singapore: Muah chee
  • Taiwan: Daifuku
  • Hawaii: butter mochi


  • Mochiku / sweet rice flour = 600 grams
  • Sugar = 2 cups
  • Milk = 1 cup
  • Corn starch = 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder = 1 teaspoon
  • Baking soda = 1 teaspoon
  • Food color = if required
  • Sakuna flavor = 1 teaspoon


  • Add all dry components in the mixing bowl, like sweet rice flour, sugar, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder.
  • Now add milk, food color, sakuna flavors into another bowl and mix them well.
  • Add liquid content slowly into the rice flower mixture and start kneading.
  • Make small balls of the kneaded dough and than bake it on the oven.
  • Bake these smalls balls in oven at 300 degree F for 45 minutes.
  • Now mochi rice cake is ready to serve.


To garnish we have following elements :

  • Fresh fruits
  • Nuts
  • Caster sugar
  • Chocolate, etc
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