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What is Mochiko?
Mochikoもち粉 is a type of glutinous rice flour (or sweet rice flour) made from mochigome which is glutinous short-grain Japanese rice. It is sometimes called Gyuhiko 求肥粉 or Daifukuko 大福粉. Known for its sticky and chewy texture, we use mochiko particularly to make Japanese pastry and sweets.
What is the difference between mochiko and shiratamako?
In addition to mochiko, you will find another sweet rice flour called the shiratamako for making Japanese sweets like mochi. Both mochiko and shiratamako are glutinous rice flour and used in similar purposes, but they do differ in texture and flavor.
The first difference you’ll notice is mochiko comes in very finely powdered flour, while shiratamako flour looks more like coarse granules. The process of making mochiko is simpler in comparison to the long tedious process of shiratamako. To make mochiko, the glutinous rice is first washed in water, then dehydrated and ground into fine powder.
Both flours also yield a noticeable difference in flavors and consistency for your Japanese sweets and mochi. Texture-wise, mochiko is less elastic and more doughy. It can be tricky to work with as it takes a longer time to dissolve in water. After cooking, your dough may also lose its stickiness and get harden quicker if you don’t consume fast enough.
For making the best mochi, my personal choice is always shiratamako. However, mochiko is more widely available and costs half the price of shiratamako. If you couldn’t find shiratamako, you can substitute it with mochiko (or when recipes recommend). To help it absorbs faster, just add less water to the mochiko flour.
Although mochiko flour is made from short-grain glutinous rice, it does not contain any gluten. The rice actually has a higher starch content than other rice flour. Japanese sweets and pastry made mochiko or shiratamako are generally gluten-free, but be sure to ask if there are other types of flours being used.
Can I substitute Mochiko with other rice flour?
If you’re trying to make Japanese sweets like mochi or dango, there is absolutely no substitute for mochiko or shiratamako. There are other sweet rice flours using long grain rice from other countries, but the textures and flavors are quite different. They are simply not suitable for making Japanese sweets.
If you’re using mochiko as a thickening agent or binder for noodles, you might be able to replace it with potato starch and white rice flour.
Where to Buy Mochiko
You can buy mochiko on Amazon, Japanese supermarkets, and some Asian stores.
If you can find Shiratamako (白玉粉) shown above, which is another type of glutinous rice flour. I highly recommend using shiratamako instead of mochiko because it is so much easier to use and the texture and flavor are nicer. You can learn more about Shiratamako here.
How Long Does Mochiko Powder Last
Just like any other flour, mochiko has a shelf life of about 6 months. Store the box in dark cool place to keep it fresh. Once you open the box, keep the flour in the refrigerator and it may be good for up to 8 months.
Recipes using Mochiko
You can use mochiko for traditional Japanese sweets or make Japanese-inspired pastries like muffins, waffles, cakes or bars. The flour will give your creations a unique chewy texture.