Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

To start off the weekend, here is a fun guest post from Jen of Tiny Urban Kitchen, about making sushi that is not exactly what it seems to be!

This is not what you might think it is.  Yes, it looks like sushi - almost too similar.  But guess what? It’s mochi!  It’s mochi with various fruit pieces posing as fish.   Mochi is surprisingly easy to make.  You can actually make this dessert with kids, it’s so easy and fun. The nigiri are especially easy - just cut up various fruits into squares to put on top.  Rolls are a bit trickier, but not impossible.  For the rolls, I used soy wrappers (see tutorial below).    

Basic Mochi Recipe

[note: Sweet mochi made from mochiko or a combination of mochiko and joushinko (rice flour made from medium grain or regular Japonica rice) and used for sweets, is also called gyuuhi. - maki]

  • 3/4 cup / 178ml Mochiko (glutinous rice flour)
  • 3.4 cup / 178ml water
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons sugar   Combine the mochiko flour, water, and sugar in a microwave safe container and stir until completely incorporated.  I find that 2 tablespoon makes a pretty light mochi, which might be preferable if you plan on adding a sweet filling.  If you plan on eating it plain, I would add more sugar.   Cover with plastic wrap tightly and microwave for 2-3 minutes. This depends on your microwave strength. Check after 2 minutes to see if it’s done. The previously liquid mixture should be solid now. Typically the plastic wrap will expand while heating (creating a bubble on top of the container) and then it will shrink and become concave once you take it out (due to the rapid cooling air inside the container).   I like to use a glass Pyrex container with plastic wrap for microwaving because I know it will retain the moisture inside. I once tried making it with a plastic lid and I think too much moisture was released, resulting in a hard, rubbery mochi.    

    Nigiri

Once you have microwaved the mochi, scoop out a small lump with a spoon (see bottom left picture above) and dump it into a bowl of corn starch. Use your hands to lightly shape the piece of mochi so it looks like an oval, similar the rice shape of a nigiri sushi.   Cut pieces of fruit into rectangles about the size of the fish on top of the sushi. You can use any fruit you want. I used mango (for tamago/egg), strawberry (for maguro/tuna), and blackberries (for some sort of caviar I guess!).You could also use cantaloupe for salmon, honeydew for cucumber, and watermelon for tuna. Be creative!   Lay the fruit on top of the mochi, and you are done! If you want, you can lightly sprinkle some sugar on top, but this is totally optional.   For fun, you can make marzipan wasabi, like I did in this post.   Enjoy and serve!    

Maki Rolls

Maki rolls are just a bit trickier. It helps if you have some experience making normal sushi rolls.   These maki rolls are made with soy wrappers by the company Yamamotoyama. You can either buy a variety pack with various colors (5 sheets), or buy bulk packs (10 sheets of a single color). All soy wrappers are naturally colored, spinach for green and paprika for orange one (and I think beets for pink, but I did not buy the pink one). The small amounts of coloring agents do not affect the flavor. I bought my soy wrappers online at asianfoodgrocer.com which actually has a pretty good price for the bulk packs (unfortunately they do not carry the variety pack, but you can get that on Amazon.com). [Note: In the UK/Europe you can order these from Japan Centre. As far as I know though, Yamamotoyama doesn’t sell these in Japan. - maki]

The soy wrappers have a very mild hint of soy flavor.  I would recommend using a strongly flavored filling to mask any hint of the soy aroma if it bothers you.  The wrappers do lose this aroma over time. I noticed that I did not smell the soy flavor in the rolls the next day.     Make mochi according to the microwave recipe above. Now, instead of taking out small chunks like we did for the nigiri, try to lift the entire sheet with a spatula and gently lay it down on a soy wrapper. I divided the sheet I had made into two pieces so I could lay it across the soy wrapper.   Fill with your filling of choice. In this case, I used some leftover sweetened mung beans from mung bean soup I had made.   You can also use fruit (see pictures below using mango), red bean paste, black sesame paste, or crushed peanuts. Roll as you would normal sushi. With the soy wrappers, you need to use a bit of water to seal the roll.     Slice with a wet knife and serve! I used the end pieces to make the stand up maki pieces with the blackberry on top.     These taste the best when they are freshly made.  I tried refrigerating them, but they become a bit harder and lose that nice, chewy texture.    Enjoy!    

About the author

Jen, the author of Tiny Urban Kitchen, lives in a tiny urban condo in Cambridge, Massachusetts, right across the river from Boston.  A chemist by training, Jen applies her love of experimentation to the kitchen, which she details in her blog.  Jen also loves photography, traveling, and eating out.  As a result, Jen also writes reviews on restaurants, mostly in the Boston area but also around the world, complete with plenty of colorful photographs!

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

23 comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

I love mochi and this is such a cute idea. I can't wait to try it. Thank you for the guest post.

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

brilliant and adorable!
I will totally be making this.

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

I love that gunkan maki with the blackberry! A raspberry or similar would probably work well too.

I might have to try making mochi again--it didn't work out so well the first time I tried it. Though it occurs to me that if one used (or made) mochi ice cream...mmm, that might be tasty.

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

This looks so good! I want to try it this weekend!

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

Hey, do you have the metric equivalent for the mochi recipe?
Thank you.

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

I have put in mililiter measurements for the cup measurements.

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

I love that this is the Western mirror version of a Japanese commercial idea!

In Shibuya one could get burgers and fries that were really sweet foods made to emulate the savoury offerings of a burger bar. This venture, despite the initial queues, didn't quite catch on and Mamido's Burger eventually folded (as so many restaurants do in Tokyo). But it had a good run!
Documented here:
http://palstage.blog.ocn.ne.jp/palog/2006/01/_060127_bf65.html - cake sponge and chocolate
http://exo.jp/keypersonq/2007/02/post_180.html - banana 'fish' burger and custard fries

Variations on the Theme

In addition to the soy wrappers, I'd be inclined to try fruit roll-ups/fruit leather. Can't say how well it will work without having used them however. Bet it would still be healthy and delicious though!
Also, although I'm not one of them, some people have a distaste for mochi. For another dessert-style sushi rice copy I would try Thai sticky rice (glutinous rice). When it's used as a dessert it is usually combined with palm sugar (although any kind of plain or refined sugar will do) plus coconut milk and a tiny bit of salt; in Thai restaurants it is usually served with fresh mango. Once it cools it will be a remarkably similar replica of sushi rice for an alternative to the mochi in these fruit desserts.

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

I love this idea! It's so cute.. but I don't have a microwave - is there an easy way to make mochi without one?

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

Stovetop - it's so easy a dog can do it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Cv5LsqKUXc)
The mochi making part in the video begins at about 1:05s
You don't need a perforated steaming tray; you can just set a bowl of your mixture in a shallow water bath in a larger saucepan. Steam it for the recommended time and follow the remaining instructions to make portions of the dough.

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

ohmygoodnessss
these are sooooo precious <3

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

Wow this is awesome!!!!!!! :D
this is such a good idea!! :D Now i carve for mochi, lol xD

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

good entertainment idea. noted!

Dirk L. Archibold-Chester
Food Lovers Heaven

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

I've been experimenting with quinoa as a substitute for rice. I find it has a nutty, but somewhat neutral flavor. With some additions, it might work as a desert base. Also, plain white rice could with some added spices or sweetner. I'm thinking if you added cinnamon or perhaps a bit of orange juice, either would work for desert sushi. I'm not keen on the soy wraps, but if they lose their aroma after a day, I'd give them a try. Really cute idea.

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

How would you store the leftover mochi? I was thinking of using plastic wrap and leaving it in the refridgerator, any other ideas?

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

Made this with friends at a party - we had a BLAST making them! They turned out only so-so because it's the dead of winter so the fruit was all tart/bitter, but we ended up laughing hysterically covered in cornstarch so it was well worth it.

"Stop having the boring tuna; stop having the boring life" - Vince Offer

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

Thanks this is so cute ! i cant wait to try it.

I saw some malagkit rice, its a local Philippine sweet sticky rice since it looked so similar to the mochi rice you showed on the choosing rice entry you made.

I was wondering if i grind it up into a flour (using my "ultimate chopper" its an as seen on tv chopper thats kinda like a mini food processor with less options) and use it like the mochi flour will it work the same way ?

Oh and i hope you recover quickly from the surgery you just went through. Best wishes and my prayers are with you =)

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

I have just made this for a picnic with bf and I love them! They are delicious! I didn't fill them with anything so I used 4 tbsp of sugar. Good idea! Thanks!

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

Refrigerating it ruins the texture because the cold speeds the crystallization of the mochi. It should be fine if you leave it out (though, yes, you'd worry about the fruit).

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

Just one thing that I noticed. For making the sweet mochi, I'm guessing that the measurement for the water should be 3/4 cup rather than 3.4 cup. I tried with the 3.4 and it didn't work too well. The 3/4 worked much better =)

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

Do you think I can make these with frozen fruits?

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

oh thankyouthankyouthankyou! i just love mochi and this looks so fresh and nice

Re: Fun with sweet mochi and fruit "sushi"

I love this! Maki my kids have recently discovered Mochi and are very partial to the strawberry flavoured ones that we buy. If I were to use this recipe, what would be the best way to flavour it? Can I use fruit puree to add flavour and colour?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.