Ever wish you could just grab some ice cream and pop it in your mouth? If you have, then mochi ice cream was made for you. If you haven’t, but you like ice cream, it’s definitely still worth a try…And if you’ve already had it, more flavors await.
What is mochi ice cream exactly, you ask? It is a small round scoop of ice cream encased in a protective layer of mochi. So it looks like a lightly powdered golf ball-sized dessert. It became popular in the U.S. in the early-mid 2010s when production went mainstream.
Where did Mochi originate?
The credit of inventing mochi ice cream is given to the late Japanese-American businesswoman and former CEO of Mikawaya, Frances Kazuko Hashimoto. It was actually Hashimoto’s husband, Joel Friedman, who initially came up with the concept of completely covering balls of ice cream with the chewy, sticky substance in the 1980s. However, it took a decade before Friedman and Hashimoto made it into its current form. Hashimoto further developed and refined the idea to create multiple flavors and turn it into a viable product which debuted in Hawaii in 1994. Today, mochi ice cream is Mikawaya’s highest selling item by far.
mochi ice cream vs. traditional ice cream (U.S.)
How is Mochi Served?
Traditional American ice cream requires scooping the ice cream from a large container into a smaller single-serve container like a cup, bowl or cone. Unless you’re eating it out of a cone, it requires a spoon. Mochi ice cream, however, requires no spoons or scooping as it is premade into small round desserts, which you can simply pick up and eat with your hands.
What does Mochi taste like?
Between these two versions, the ice cream itself is similar in flavor and texture. Pretty much any popular ice cream flavor in the US and Japan has been converted into mochi ice cream. The only real difference, of course, is the outer casing which provides a soft, chewy elastic experience when it is bit into. This casing also provides a layer of insulation which helps prevent the ice cream from melting immediately in your hands or freezing your fingers.
Where to find mochi ice cream
This delectable version of ice cream is available at most large chain supermarkets, but can also be found at your nearest Asian market. It is also served at select Japanese or Japanese-inspired restaurants. Here is a map where you can find these wrapped balls of ice cream and other mochi desserts.
How to make mochi ice cream
Because working with ice cream can be tricky, the most convenient way to enjoy mochi ice cream is by simply picking it up at your local supermarket or ordering it online. But, if for some reason your local grocer doesn’t carry it or shipping it to you isn’t feasible, here is an option to make it yourself at home. Just make sure to keep the ice cream frozen throughout the process, or you’ll be left in a sticky situation.
- cookie scoop (smaller than an ice cream scoop)
- parchment paper-lined cookie sheet
- microwave-safe mixing bowl
- plastic wrap
- 3.5-4 inch round cookie cutter
- 1 cup glutinous rice flour
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup ice cream (your favorite flavor)
- cornstarch/potato starch (to dust)
- food coloring (optional)
- With your cookie scoop, scoop a dozen ball-shaped scoops of ice cream onto the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Make sure none of the scoops are touching. Then, place sheet in freezer for 30 minutes- 2 hours, or until the ice cream scoops are frozen into shape.
- Meanwhile, in the mixing bowl, add the glutinous rice flour, water, granulated sugar and 1-3 drops of food coloring. Mix until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and heat up in the microwave for 1 minute.
- Mix the mixture with a wet spatula (to prevent sticking) until smooth, then heat again for 30 seconds until the mixture is slightly transparent.
- Dust everything that will come into contact with your mixture. Dust your work surface with cornstarch. Transfer the mixture onto the surface and dust it as well. In addition, dust your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the mixture and place onto your cookie sheet. Refrigerate for half and hour.
- Use cookie cutter to cut a dozen circular pieces of the flattened mixture. Stack each piece separated by a piece of plastic wrap.
- Place a frozen scoop of ice cream in the center of each circular piece and wrap the ice cream with the flattened mixture until it is completely sealed and in the shape of a ball. Then wrap the ball in a piece of plastic wrap and stick into the freezer for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to enjoy, remove mochi ice cream from the freezer and allow to thaw for a few minutes. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Just One Cookbook.
Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.