If you’re not familiar with mochi’s, then the first thing you should know is that they are a traditional Japanese cake. They’re incredibly popular in Japan, but increasingly popular with western countries, due to their unique taste and texture.
If you want to learn more about mochi, and what mochi tastes like, then continue reading, where we discuss all things mochi!
What Exactly Is Mochi?
As stated, mochi is a traditional Japanese cake. It’s made out of mochigome rice – which is a type of Japanese glutinous short-grain rice. It’s combined with other ingredients such as sugar, cornstarch, and water, along with different flavorings.
While mochi is a cake and, while mochi can be rather sweet-tasting, it is considered more of a savory cake. It’s unlike sweet sponge cakes, due to the fact it is made out of rice.
How Is Mochi Made?
Traditionally, mochi is made by pounding steamed rice. This is called ‘mochi pounding’.
It is very honorable, as mochi takes great skill, precision and patience in order to make mochi.
Before any ‘mochi-pounding’ occurs, the rice is washed and soaked for two days. After this two-day period, the rice is then steamed, which produces a very soft consistency.
This steamed rice is transported into a traditional usu, which is a Japanese mortar. Here, the mochi will be kneaded together into a huge ball of rice dough.
The next step is the ‘mochi-pounding’. The aim is to make the dough very airy and very creamy, which is crucial to the texture of mochi (see also ‘How To Make Mochi Donuts‘). This process involves two people. A line is used, which is a Japanese wooden mallet. The two workers pound the mochi with the kine.
The mochi-pounding stops when the dough reaches the right amount of stickiness. At that point, the mochi is flipped over, where hot water is poured on top of the dough.
This is a process which takes two people to perform. One person hand-mixes the rice dough, which is an important aspect of mochi making, and then straight after another person pounds the mochi, using a line.
This sequence is very fast, with one person quickly performing their task, and then the other person immediately performing their task.
The latter part of the process is very dangerous. It takes a great deal of trust to perform mochi pounding, because of the two skilled workers to create. The two mochi-pounders must be working at the same rhythm, to avoid any accidents from occurring.
Is All Mochi Made Traditionally?
Not all mochi is made in the traditional way. It takes a great deal of skill, time and expertise in order to make mochi authentically.
Due to the popularity of mochi, and given that it is popular all over the world, mochi can be made in factories. The machinery will do the majority of the work, meaning it is far less laborious to mass produce.
What About The Mochi Filling?
If you’ve ever tried mochi, then you will know that you can get a wide variety of different flavored mochi.
Not all mochi contains a filling. The traditional mochi does not contain any filling whatsoever. There are, of course, other versions of mochi, which do contain fillings.
When the dough is fully prepared, an insertion is made, and a filling is placed inside the mochi dough. The dough is then sprinkled with a powder.
The flavor used will vary. Some examples of the wide variety of mochi flavors are: green tea, green tea matcha, matcha, red bean, sesame and strawberry.
What Does Mochi Taste Like?
Now, you’re probably curious as to what mochi tastes like.
We will give an overview of the different types of mochi, and the unique taste that pertains to that specific type.
However, a general overview of mochi is also important. The taste and texture of mochi is very unique. Texturally, it is very chewy, sticky, and is very stretchy. It also has a very soft texture, so it is not difficult to chew.
When it comes to the taste of mochi, it does depend on the exact variety. Generally speaking, though, mochi tastes like a mixture of plain marshmallows mixed with a neutral gummy candy. It also has a slight after-taste of starch, as it is made out of rice.
Different Varieties Of Mochi
Below, we have included some examples of the different types of mochi, and what they taste like. This is useful for those who have not tried mochi before, or are new to the Japanese dessert.
Kiri Mochi is the traditional version of mochi. This type of mochi contains no filling, so it is also referred to as plain mochi.
This type of mochi is slightly sweet, and tastes like a mixture of marshmallows and gummy candy, with a small starchy aftertaste. Kiri Mochi is usually produced into bars and vacuumed sealed.
You can eat this mochi as is, but it is also perfectly acceptable to warm the mochi up. This will create a delicious gooey texture. It is also common to pair kiki mochi with fruits, for an extra sweet taste.
Daifuku Mochi is made out of steamed mochigome. It is very similar in taste and texture as Kiri mochi.
This version of mochi, however, will usually contain a bean paste. This paste is a sweetened red bean paste, called Anko. It is also common for white bean paste, known as shiroan, to be used.
The use of pasta can transform the flavor. These bean paste mochi will taste far creamier and sweeter than kiri mochi. It is very popular due to its sweet taste and softer texture.
Sakura Mochi is very pretty. It is made out of pink-colored rice flour, which makes the mochi turn a lovely pink shade.
It is also filled with Anko, which is red bean paste. More expensive mochi makers may include an edible pickled cherry blossom leaf on top of sakura mochi, for an even prettier decoration.
This type of mochi tastes a little like cherries, except it is very sweet, due to the Anko filling. It also has a slight floral taste, which is very much liked.
Mochi is a traditional Japanese cake that is loved all over the world.
There are lots of variations of mochi, we have only covered some of the most popular varieties of mochi widely available on the market today. Mochi tastes like marshmallows and neutral gummy candy, and it is also sweet, with a slightly starchy taste.