October 26, 2016

Homemade Red Bean Mochi 紅豆麻糬

Homemade, Red Bean, Mochi, daifuku,  紅豆麻糬, 大福, 糯米糍, sweet rice cake, recipe, sweet mochi
By Published: 2016-10-26
I must confess, this little treat is something I'm deliriously, seriously in love with...ever since fateful day long ago when I wandered into that tiny mochi shop somewhere in Tokyo and tentatively bought one of the red bean mochi (expensive, I thought), bit into it and discovered...food nirvana.  

It was a revelation, the mochi soft, gooey, sexy, oh so fresh and smelling deliciously of fragrant rice, the red bean paste so light, fresh and tasty.  Really it was an OMG moment...what food magic was this?  I mean I had had mochi before this point but hadn't especially liked them that much...they were usually so-so, dense, chewy things with slightly stale too sweet red bean paste tinged with preservative.  But these, these tender sexy things were out of this world yummilicous!  And thus I discovered the joys of the freshly made japanese mochi.  

While we in Hong Kong have the luxury to buy freshly made japanese mochi, it is quite expensive so I have been thinking to try to make mochi at home for a while.  Finally got around to it and was tickled pink to discover that Homemade Red Bean Mochi 紅豆麻糬 is not only really, really easy to make but really deliriously tasty as well.  Almost as good as that first red bean mochi I ate standing in the streets of Tokyo, if I do say so myself!  

Homemade, Red Bean, Mochi, daifuku,  紅豆麻糬, 大福, 糯米糍, sweet rice cake, recipe, sweet mochi

In the old days, mochi was laboriously made by pounding whole rice with a wooden mallet.  I think this vague notion in my head made me think that making mochi was really hard.  Little did I know that nowadays you can simply purchase special flours especially prepared for making of mochi.  

There are two kinds of flours used, the Mochiko and the Shiratamako , both made from sweet glutinous short rice.  The Mochiko flour is a less refined and doughier textured flour and probably more easily found in your asian grocery store.  The Shiratamako (the Chinese name is 白玉粉) is a more refined flour, finer textured and with a more smoother and stretchy feel.  We found the shiratamako (pictured above) at a Japanese grocery store and I think that it did make a difference, our mochi turning out oh so tender and soft as a baby's bum.

Homemade, Red Bean, Mochi, daifuku,  紅豆麻糬, 大福, 糯米糍, sweet rice cake, recipe, sweet mochi
Mochi finished with steaming

Once you have sourced your special rice flour, the mochi is ridiculously easy to make.  Just mix flour, sugar and water and steam.  And that's it.  No pounding, no stirring, no kneading.  Also, I've seen a lot of recipes use the microwave but first of all, we don't use a microwave and second, I think it's actually easier to just steam the darn thing in good ol' fashioned bamboo steamer.  

Pssst...heck out our post on why bamboo steamer is better.

Homemade, Red Bean, Mochi, daifuku,  紅豆麻糬, 大福, 糯米糍, sweet rice cake, recipe, sweet mochi

Pour out onto a generously dusted working surface (preferably onto the ever useful non sticking silicon mat which I now cannot live without).  I used roasted soybean powder, also known as kinako, to dust the steamed mochi instead of starch, that's why the powder looks a pale greenish yellow.  Roasted soy bean powder gives a slightly sweet, roasty, nutty powdery finish to the outside of the mochi.  

If you want the standard white powder finish to your mochi use potato starch (also known as potato flour) or cornstarch.

    Homemade, Red Bean, Mochi, daifuku,  紅豆麻糬, 大福, 糯米糍, sweet rice cake, recipe, sweet mochi

I think one big reason that the japanese mochis are so good is simply because they are super duper fresh.  You make 'em and you eat 'em but you can't keep 'em, but that's never a problem as they are so yummilicious that they get gobbled up as soon as they're made.  On the other hand, preserved mochi have preservative in them and food preservatives are chemicals after all and thus must affect the taste.  

So in this spirit of food fresh deliciousness, we whipped up a fresh batch of our Grandma's Red Bean Paste for the filling of our fresh mochi.  Fresh red bean filling and fresh mochi wrapping!

Homemade, Red Bean, Mochi, daifuku,  紅豆麻糬, 大福, 糯米糍, sweet rice cake, recipe, sweet mochi

The only thing I was a wee bit worried about was the wrapping of the mochi.  It's usually the wrapping when things go all wrong, amirite?  Well more great news!  It was super easy to wrap.  

Not that I did a really great job at it, my mochi definitely came out looking charmingly (I hope!) handmade, but the important point here is that the fresh mochi is really easy to stick together.  Even though you've got the flour dusted all over it, all you've got to do is to pull a bit and stick it together.  No matter how you go about it you will end up with a red bean mochi!

Tip:  I froze my red bean paste balls for a bit to make the wrapping easier but I think you may not even need to do that.

After all the steaming and the wrapping, the best thing of all was the dropped jaw response of my 老公, who gobbled down one fresh mochi, stopped to stare at me in amazement and exclaimed, "Why these are as good as the store bought ones!"  

Smile...the rewards of the cook are worth all the effort, yes?

Well then, if you're a mochi devotee like me or just want to try it out , you've got no excuse now!  It's a super duper easy thing to make fresh mochi and is soooooo divinely, sexily yummilicious!

Homemade, Red Bean, Mochi, daifuku,  紅豆麻糬, 大福, 糯米糍, sweet rice cake, recipe, sweet mochi
Homemade Red Bean Mochi Recipe

(adapted from recipe here)  Makes around 15-16 mochi
Prep time: Cook time:



Roll your red bean paste into 15 nos. 3/4" balls of 20g each.  Place in freezer for 30 mins or so to firm up.

Mix sugar with flour, then add in water and stir til combined.  Steam* over medium heat for 15 mins. Prepare your working surface (I use a silicone mat for less sticking) by generously dusting with soybean powder or starch.  

Remove mochi from heat and use a scraper to scrape all in one big piece onto working surface.  Now dust the top of the mochi generously with powder or starch.  Use your palms or a well dusted roller to flatten the mochi to a 1/4" thickness.   If the mochi starts sticking anywhere just slap on more powder or starch.  

Slice mochi into 15 equal pieces, or if you want neater mochi, use the rim of a glass cup to press 3" circles out.  Place red bean paste into center of mochi and then gather the sides together, sticking one side to the opposite side until the red bean paste is completely enclosed in a ball shape.  Dust off any extra powder and place wrapped mochi onto a plate lightly dusted with starch.

Eat immediately or keep covered at room temperature for one day.  After that refrigerate in airtight container for up to another 2 days.  Seriously though, I doubt your batch of mochi will last past the first day.

* Tip: If you use a steel steamer, cover pot with a towel before putting on lid so as to stop condensation dripping onto the mochi.  If you use bamboo steamer you don't have to worry about that.



  1. Hello! I love your recipes and it brings back a lot of childhood memories. I was wondering if there are other fillings we can use instead of red bean? Thank you and stay safe!

    1. Glad to hear! 😊 You can also use other Chinese fillings like sesame paste, mung bean paste, custard, etc. which you can find recipes for on our site, just use our recipe search engine on the top/side of this page. And actually mochi can be filled with anything that you can wrap the mochi around, so basically any flavor that you can get into a ball shape (freeze up to firm) and then wrap with mochi. I've seen all kinds of flavors in mochi, chocolate, mango, strawberry, green tea, etc.!!