Mochi Fantasy


Image of Two Ladies Strawberry Mochi from the blog Big Island Grinds.

I may have mentioned my obession with Mochi in a different post. Last year when we were married we purchased a beautiful tray of these artfully prepared cakes from the Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo for our wedding in lieu of a traditional wedding cake. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the result. If you’re ever on the Big Island and driving through Hilo I do suggest that you make a stop there. It’s an unassuming little shop where the locals and probably tourists line outside the door to purchase their packaged treats.


For the lay person: Mochi is a rice cake. Sometimes there are simple mochi which are just plain rice cakees which can be baked in an oven. When baked the mochi cakes puff up. Mochi comes in more decorative and festive forms including daifuku mochi (see image) which are usually filled with some sweet filling such as red bean (Koshi-an) or white bean (Shiro-an) paste. The Two Ladies actually made a mochi out of one of my favorite Asian foods, Purple Yam (known as Ube in the Phillipines). Actually, at one point I’d fantasized about having my wedding cake made out of Ube, the shocking purple hue of the cake would be a sight to see. In addition to the Ube and Strawberry Mochi, my favorite Two Ladies mochi flavors are: Passionfruit, White Chocolate and Peanut Butter, Plum, and Green Tea

As I write about this now and I continue the fantasy of having really good fresh mochi. I did try to make it myself; however it was so messy I don’t think I’ll do it again anytime soon. I took a green tea mochi recipe and I used strongly brewed apricot tea as the liquid. The cakes themselves were tasty, but the labor required to make and clean up discourages me from making this again until I get a microwave and can make the microwave version. Despite the effort involved in making them, I will forever be infatuated with mochi because after all they’re adorable looking. Small packages of aesthetically pleasing and delicous cuteness.


Tray of Daifuku Mochi and Manju*

After doing a search online for pictures (looking for mochi-porn), I found a rather terrific post on Japanese Cake Molds. Though it sounds like the cakes produced in these beautiful molds are more sugar than pounded rice dough.



Japanese Cake Mold


*Manju = baked cakes not always made of rice flour which are filled with sweet fillings such as redbean or adzuki paste called koshi-an


About nkilkenny

Natalie Laderas works as an instructional designer with experience delivering training solutions which include online training portals, print or job aids, blended (instructor/elearning) learning elements, and embedded help solutions. She develops innovative solutions for training design including modularized training or Reusable Learning Objects (RLO) and Web 2.0 features for Knowledge Management including as podcasting, wikis, blogs. She has managed and led both small and large training projects which include audiences of 80 to 12,000 people in both local and global sites.


  1. Liz

    Hi i was just wondering if you have the recipe for baked mochi, that’s normally found in the bakery and they are normally with black sesame or cheese. They are crispy from the outside and chewy inside. Usually they are bite size. Thank you so much! =)

  2. I think I have seen slabs of squares of frozen uncooked mochi in the freezer section of the Japanese grocery store. These are usually plain, but I’m sure you could easily roll them in coatings or seasonings. You thaw and cut them apart and bake them in the oven. I actually would opt for doing this rather than making them myself because they are so messy and sticky to make.

  3. Oh! I love Two Ladies Kitchen. Reading this makes me homesick.

  4. Tracey

    I just learn how to make mochi from a friend who’d grown up in Hawaii– its not hard w/a microwave & the 2nd time its not so messy. We made red bean paste centers. I want to learn to make other types now. They’re a great gluten free treat!

  5. may

    I’m really into the Japanese culture and I simply adore to cook things from the Japanese kitchen!
    One of my favourites is sushi (californian rolls) and mochi! Your suggestions for the filling are really interesting and tasty. I should really try them all!(I always make mochi with red beanpaste, but after a while you get bored with this.)
    My mother has a gluten-allergie, so she’s glad when I cook these Japanese things for my family!
    Although I’m just 16 years old, I already tried a lot of things From the Japanese kitchen!
    Pss. Please don’t mind if my English isn’t that good, but my mother language is Dutch (Flemish) so. . .

    • Hi, May! I think there’s a book available via (US) called “Hawai’i’s best mochi recipes” by Jean Watanabe Hee. There’s a recipe for Strawberry Mochi that I’ve been dying to try. The book also teaches you how to make shiroan (white bean paste) from sweetened lima beans. When I was in Hawaii one of my favorite mochis was the Purple mochi made from Purple or Okinawan sweet potatoes. Yum.

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