Japanese cuisine is incredibly delicious. Luckily for all of us not living in Japan it is now widely available around the world. You likely don’t even need to leave your neighborhood to enjoy some delicious sushi or a donburi. Yet one of the most surprising things about the Japanese cuisine invasion to the rest of the world is that the sweet treats of Japan have rarely followed. While there are some places where you can find a daifuku or a Japanese waffle, in most places you will struggle. My favorite Japanese treat is mochi ice cream. It is so hard to find the treat where I live and where I have found it, they charge a shocking premium. The good news is that I have found an easy way to make it.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome which is short-grained glutinous rice. To make it is surprisingly easy and always super tasty. To make this treat you will need your favorite ice cream, an egg carton, plastic wrap, sweet glutinous rice, sugar, water, and a whisk.
Start by scooping your ice cream into the perfect size. I used a full pint of ice cream and rolled it into the balls I needed. After a lot of trial and error, I think that ping pong sized balls of ice cream that are firmly packed work great. While you could do this at the moment you need them, it can make things a little frantic as the ice cream starts to melt and you really end up with a variety of different sizes because you are rushing. Instead, take the time to do it slowly and correctly. Roll your ice cream balls. Once rolled you can store them in an egg carton in the freezer so that they hold their shape. Simply line an egg carton with plastic wrap and pop an ice cream ball in each individual egg space.
Now it is time to make the mochi. Add the glutinous rice (I used ¾ of a cup) and sugar (¼ cup) together. Then mix with water (3/4 cup) until you make a sweet slurry type paste. Next, cover the bowl in a microwave-safe container and heat for 1 minute. Then stir and repeat the heat for 30 seconds. The mixture should now be translucent.
Take the new mochi mixture and put it on some parchment paper. It is a good idea to have some cornstarch lightly dusted on the paper to avoid sticking. Once the mochi cools you can start to handle it. Use a rolling pin to make the mixture into a thick sheet about ¼ inch. Then leave on a tray in the fridge to cool for around 15 minutes.
Now place your sheet of mochi on the countertop and cut out cookie-sized circles. Take out a scoop of frozen ice cream and place it on top of one circle. Wrap the circle around the ice cream to form a mochi ball with ice cream inside. Repeat this for as many balls as you have made. Put the mochi balls back in the freezer for a few hours until they are hard.
When you are serving the mochi leave them out of the freezer for around five minutes so that the mochi gets its soft texture back, then serve. With these mochi treats the mochi itself is delicious enough. It doesn’t even need ice cream. However, I find the ice cream makes it an even more delicious treat and by playing with flavors you can have a lot of fun. Green tea was my personal favorite.