Green tea mochi is a delicious rice cake that comes from Japan. You'll definitely want to try this matcha rice cake if you have an incurable sweet tooth. It's a pretty wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweets, that's a nice light tea-time snack.
We tested plenty of different recipes and made our own adjustments. It's safe to say, we think we came up with the best green tea mochi recipe that's easy for you to make. All you need to know are the three simple steps we've broken down in our recipe.
- What is matcha mochi made of?
- What does green tea mochi taste like?
- What is the difference between matcha and green tea?
- Is matcha mochi healthy?
- Matcha daifuku calories
- Green tea mochi fillings
- Green tea mochi ingredients
- How to store
- How to eat matcha mochi
- Is matcha mochi symbolic?
- Green Tea Mochi Recipe (Matcha Mochi with Red Bean Filling)
What is matcha mochi made of?
Matcha mochi, or Japanese-style green tea mochi, is a soft rice cake made from doughy mochiko flour. When you bite into it, you'll find its green tea centre. The filling, also known as matcha, is made by grinding young tea leaves into a fine powder. This is where this pastry gets its name, the matcha mochi.
The Japanese traditionally make rice cake by pounding the dough over and over again. However, there is a simpler method to making it today. You can check out our microwave mochi recipe for a simple introduction to how to make it.
What does green tea mochi taste like?
Green tea mochi tastes like marshmallows combined with sticky and gummy candy. It can also have a dry, starchy aftertaste. When you bite into it, you will taste the bittersweet matcha filling. This contrasting taste sensation makes this treat so satisfying.
However, the green tea mochi filling depends on the taste of the matcha. The quality and where the tea plant leaves are from affect its flavour. Bad matcha brews into strong, bland and bitter flavours, but premium matcha can deliver a subtle, rich flavour profile.
Ceremonial-grade matcha tastes like vegetables with a bit of sweetness. Expert matcha drinkers also use this in their cultural tea ceremonies. Using high-quality matcha can help avoid the bitter flavours associated with this tea.
What is the difference between matcha and green tea?
The difference between matcha and green tea for your green tea mochi is that green tea tastes lighter, and matcha is much more intense.
In some cases, they are interchangeable ingredients. However, they are actually different, although they come from the same plant. Additionally, the country of origin, cultivation and processing steps are different. Most of the world's green tea is from China, but matcha is from Japan.
Other differences are that green tea is grown in the sun, but matcha is produced in the shade until harvested. This cover of darkness increases the chlorophyll levels in the tea leaves and turns them darker.
Another key difference is the harvested leaves go through a longer drying process to make green tea.
But for matcha, the leaves are destemmed, deveined, and then steamed to halt oxidation. Finally, the leaves are grounded thoroughly into a fine, bright green powder. So matcha keeps its brilliant emerald colour and retains a robust bittersweet flavour.
This fundamental difference means that when you see matcha in the store, it is usually in powder form.
Is matcha mochi healthy?
Green tea mochi is a healthy traditional Japanese dessert because the dough has little saturated fat and cholesterol. It's also a good source of vitamins A, C, and E and other minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium. These are excellent for maintaining your immune system.
However, matcha powder does have caffeine. Typically, one teaspoon of matcha powder contains 70 milligrams of caffeine.
The good news is that even though matcha has a decent amount of caffeine, it will not give you the jitters. On the contrary, matcha reduces anxiety because of its high content of L-theanine. This amino acid lessens the stimulating effect of caffeine on the nervous system, producing an energised and focused state.
Matcha daifuku calories
There are 313 calories in one green tea mochi that weighs 100 grams.
Green tea mochi fillings
You can combine green tea mochi fillings with other ingredients such as red bean or white bean paste, strawberries, or ice cream. Here are some common combinations you can try out!
Red bean filling
Matcha mochi with red bean filling uses a paste made of azuki beans (or red beans), sugar and some fat of your choice. Red bean paste is a popular filling for many classic Asian treats, and it's a favourite in Asian cuisines to make desserts. Some of our favourites include anpan, dorayaki, red bean mochi and mooncakes.
It is relatively easy to find if you are looking for red bean filling in an Asian supermarket. Just look for pre-made anko bean paste or "hong dou sha" in Chinese.
White bean paste
White bean paste, or Shiroan in Japanese, is mainly used as a filling for sweet desserts and pastries in many East Asian cuisines.
Smooth and sweet, the Japanese use lima beans or butter beans for the white paste. The beans are hulled, parboiled till tender, drained, and pureed before adding sugar.
Sadly for those who want to try this filling, white bean paste is hard to find outside Japan. The good news is that it's pretty easy to make if you get your hands on some, but the process takes some time.
Strawberry matcha mochi is a doughy ball of glutinous rice flour mixed with matcha, sweet red bean paste, and an entire juicy and tart strawberry.
Traditionally, the Japanese hide the fruit entirely within the smooth rice flour. However, in modern times, you may see it sold in innovative wagashi shops with the berry peeking out of the dough ball. Hop over to our strawberry daifuku recipe article to learn how to make this dessert step-by-step.
Green tea mochi ice cream is also a popular variation. It was invented in Tokyo by a local confectionery maker using a thin layer of sweet dough to wrap around a tasty, premium green tea ice cream centre.
Eating matcha mochi ice cream cold straight from the fridge is best. The sticky sweet dough and its ice cold-core are a good treat for a hot day.
You might have realised that there are many variations for the fillings of the rice flour ball. You can even use non-traditional fillings such as chocolate! Refer to this chocolate mochi recipe to find out how.
Also, this dessert has many variations, such as mochi green tea cookies. You can modify the recipe by using more or less dough or increasing the baking temperature to make cookies.
While this recipe will show you how to make green tea mochi with red bean paste, you can quickly adapt it for other additional toppings.
Green tea mochi ingredients
You will need sweet glutinous rice flour, green tea matcha powder and sugar to make matcha mochi with red bean filling. Other ingredients such as cornstarch might already be in your kitchen.
Here is the list of green tea mochi ingredients you will need:
- Mochiko or Shiratamako (short grain glutinous rice flour)
- Granular sugar
- Green tea matcha powder
- Anko red bean paste
It's best to use Mochiko or Shiratamako (short grain sweet rice flour). Note that they differ from the regular glutinous rice flour, and choosing the flour will decide how your green tea mochi turns out.
Shiratamako is very easy to form into a dough. After cooking, the green tea mochi will be smooth, elastic and bouncy. It also does not become harder when it cools down, which is why we prefer using this flour.
For mochiko, it takes longer to incorporate the flour and water because the flour is not as absorbent. As a result, the texture is slightly grainy, gooey and much less elastic. Outside of Japan, it is easier to find mochiko flour, so if you have no choice but to use mochiko, add less water. That way, the flour will not become too moist and will still hold its shape.
If you replace shiratamako flour with glutinous rice flour, you will notice the texture is entirely different. It becomes sticky and chewy rather than smooth and slightly stretchy.
You can find all types of flour recommended in most Japanese grocery stores, but you can also try to order them online from Amazon.
How to store
Green tea mochi tastes the best the same day you make them, as it hardens when you leave them in the fridge for too long.
However, they can retain their smooth elasticity for around two days if you store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Of course, if you used premium shiratamako flour, you can keep the wagashi slightly longer for 3 or 4 days.
How to eat matcha mochi
You can eat matcha mochi alone in one bite. But if you want to know how to eat matcha mochi like the Japanese, then serve them at the end of a meal with a cup of hot green tea. Green tea mochi is not a filling snack and is perfect as a light dessert.
Is matcha mochi symbolic?
Green tea mochi has no particular symbolism. For knowledge's sake, it's interesting to note that the Japanese traditionally serve and eat wagashi at New Year. But different fillings signify different meanings. For example, the Japanese usually serve dainty sakura mochi to welcome Spring and the flowering sakura blooms.
At a Japanese tea ceremony, you will usually see matcha tea. The reason is that matcha's antioxidant and nutritional properties are believed to bring the mind and body in harmony, boosting the spirit and nurturing one's health.
Green Tea Mochi Recipe (Matcha Mochi with Red Bean Filling)
- In a microwave-safe bowl, mix flour, sugar, and matcha powder. Add water and mix until all ingredients are dissolved. Cover the bowl loosely. Microwave for 2 minutes using the lowest setting on the temperature indicator. Take it out and fold it with a damp spatula.
- Cover and microwave at 30 seconds intervals until the dough becomes slightly translucent. Place baking paper on the working surface, and dust it generously with cornstarch. Next, transfer the microwave matcha-flavoured mochi dough onto baking paper. Sprinkle more cornstarch onto the dough, so it does not stick to the paper.
- Divide the dough into four equal parts. Flatten the dough into a circular shape using your hands. Now, scoop the red bean paste into a small ball and place it in the middle of the dough. Pinch the four corners of the dough, and push them together. Tap the bottom with cornstarch.
- Finally, give the green tea mochi a light brush to remove excess cornstarch. If you want, you can also sprinkle some matcha powder on the top.
- The colour of your final dessert depends on the amount of matcha powder you use. You can adjust the amount to make it lighter or darker. However, beware that too much can make it overpowering.
- Mix the ingredients thoroughly before cooking them in the microwave to ensure that the dough holds its shape. You should completely dissolve the ingredients, or your filling will become lumpy. Also, ensure you microwave in short intervals to avoid overcooking the dough. Finally, the appearance of the dough should be a solid colour when it's ready.
- As the dough is very sticky, you'll need a thin layer of cornstarch to prevent it from sticking. It's important to coat it evenly, so the dessert is not overwhelmed by the white cornstarch powder. If you prefer not to use cornstarch, you can try all-purpose flour instead. It serves the same purpose: preventing the dough from sticking to the paper.
- Lastly, ensure the filling is firm before adding it to mochi wrappers. The filling can be too soft when it's still warm. Let it cool down before making the dough. Otherwise, it will not hold its shape.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Yu Cuisine on Youtube has a great video recipe showing how she prepared this Japanese dessert. Her step-by-step tutorial includes useful pointers on how to make your rice cake looking beautiful! So, do check out her video.
We hope you enjoyed learning how to make matcha mochi today.
If you want to learn more about traditional Japanese desserts, then follow us for more Japanese dessert recipes on Instagram @honestfoodtalks.