Did you know that it’s really, really easy to make mochi? Also most mochi is naturally gluten-free and vegan, although sometimes things are stuffed inside the mochi which are not (like ice cream). Our recipe is for matcha mochi (we really like just saying it.. “matcha mochi, matcha mochi, matcha mochi”), but if you prefer to not include the matcha, just omit it!
The secret to making mochi is in the type of rice flour that’s used. You have to use sweet rice flour. This is because sweet rice flour is made from a type of rice known as “sticky rice”, and so the flour derived from sweet (sticky) rice is ‘glutinous’ (but not glutenous!) flour. “Glutinous” literally means “like glue in texture”, or ‘sticky’, and has nothing to do with wheat gluten, they’re not even spelled the same.
Sweet rice flour’s glutinous qualities is what gives mochi that distinct sort of stretchy quality and mouthfeel. It also makes it the ideal, best kept secret for a lot of other things. In fact, as Georgina over at From the Larder explains, sweet rice flour’s “high starch content makes it ideal for thickening sauces, pancakes, batters and making all kinds of moist sweet bakes including beautifully textured gluten-free cakes.”
Sweet rice flour is also known as “Mochiko”, and we like Koda Farms brand Mochiko sweet rice flour, which you can get here on Amazon for a really decent price.
There are various grades of matcha, the highest grade being ‘ceremonial’, which is what you are supposed to use for a matcha tea ceremony. However we’ve found the lower ‘culinary’ grade is just fine for any purpose to which we’ve put it, and it’s often available at Costco (otherwise we recommend this organic matcha on Amazon, which is the one that we use when it’s not available at Costco).
As for the date paste, it’s easy to make your own (soak pitted dates, drain, pulverize them into paste in your food processor), although you can also get date paste here on Amazon. For that matter, you can get the more traditional red bean paste on Amazon as well. (Is there anything that you can’t get on Amazon?)
If eating paste isn’t your thing, you can also just put a whole pitted date in the center of your mochi, or even a walnut or really anything you’d like! It won’t be traditional, but it will be delicious!
Super Easy Gluten-Free Vegan Matcha Mochi with Date Paste Filling
3/4 cup sweet rice flour (Mochiko)
3/4 cup room temperature water
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon matcha powder
Date paste for filling
Cornstarch for working with the mochi (because it’s sticky)
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a microwave-safe vessel (we use a 4-cup (quart size) Pyrex measuring cup).
Now whisk in the water, and mix thoroughly.
If you have the silicone cover for the Pyrex (if you’re using that) put it on, otherwise cover with plastic wrap or another microwave-safe non-porous covering.
Microwave for 1 minute, remove, stir, and put back in (covered again) and microwave for another minute. Remove, mix, and microwave for another half-minute or so; you should notice the mochi dough begin to change color and texture, but only a little, it’s a subtle change. It should be fully blended, and slightly sticky.
While the mochi is microwaving, prepare your work surface by spreading out some parchment or waxed paper (parchment is better, but not everybody has that on hand). You can also just use the counter, but it’s going to make a bit of a mess. Sprinkle some cornstarch on your work surface.
Place the mochi dough on your cornstarched work surface and sprinkle some more cornstarch on top. Knead the dough gently for about 15 seconds, and then divide it into 8-10 pieces (depending on how big you want your finished mochi to be).
Pat each piece of mochi dough into a circle, the ideal thickness of the mochi layer is 1/8 to 1/3 inch thick (depending on your preferences).
Place a small amount of the date paste or bean paste or whatever you are using in the center of the mochi circle, and then bring the edges of the mochi up and over the filling, so that all of the edges meet in the center and overlap each other a little bit (so the filling doesn’t squish out).
Press gently on the center to seal the edges, and then flip each filled mochi over so that the sealed edges are on the bottom. If you find that there is an excess of cornstarch on the tops of your mochi, remove it with a soft pastry or other brush.
That’s it! You just made mochi!
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