Why Mochi is the Perfect Dessert for Kids

Debbie Michiko Florence is the author of Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen, a new chapter book about making mochi, among other things. 

Kara Rota
2-minute read
Episode #169

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen book cover

Author Debbie Michiko Florence was struck with the idea for her character Jasmine after reading a newspaper article about a multigenerational Japanese-American family who gathered to make mochi each new year. Fiesty, independent fourth-generation Japanese-American Jasmine Toguchi, growing up in West LA, wants to break mochi-making tradition and participate in the "boy job" of pounding the mochi rice. 

Mochi is a chewy dessert made from glutinous short-grain mochi rice, pounded into a paste and shaped and colored for various holidays. Florence sat down with the Clever Cookstr to talk about her experience as a third-generation Japanese-American cook, eater, and writer, and to share tips and tricks for making mochi. After you're done listening, check out this bonus recipe for Microwavable Mochi from Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen.

  • 1 1/2 cups mochiko (Japanese rice flour), plus a couple of handfuls
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • cooking spray
Note: Mochiko can be purchased in Asian grocery stores or online.
Measuring cups, medium or large bowl, mixing spoon, 9 X 9 square microwavable pan (glass or ceramic), cutting board, small knife
  1. Mix 1 1/2 cups of mochiko with the sugar and water in a bowl until smooth.
  2. Spray microwavable pan with cooking spray.
  3. Pour mochiko mixture into pan.
  4. Microwave on high for 7 1/2 minutes until ingredients become a puffy dough-like mass. (Cooking times may vary.)
  5. Dust cutting board with mochiko.
  6. With an adult’s help, remove hot pan from microwave. Flip pan over onto the mochiko-dusted cutting board. Cooked mochi should come out of the pan in one big square.
  7. Let mochi cool until you can safely handle it with your hands.
  8. Cut into small square pieces.
You can eat mochi as is, or dip it into sugar, cinnamon, and/or soy sauce for extra flavor. You can also toast it lightly in a toaster oven for a crispier outer shell. Mochi is very sticky, so take
small bites and chew carefully.
Wrap cooled mochi loosely in wax paper and store at room temperature. Eat within two days.
Makes approximately 16 squares.
This activity celebrates the Jasmine Toguchi chapter book series by Debbi Michiko Florence and illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic. Excerpted with permission from Farrar Straus Giroux.

About the Author

Kara Rota

Kara Rota headed children’s programming at Chicago’s Green City Market and studied food politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Kara has been a featured speaker at numerous venues including Food Book Fair, the Roger Smith Food Conference, and the Brooklyn Food Conference. She has written about food for Irish America Magazine, West Side Rag, Recipe Relay, and Food + Tech Connect, and is the former Director of Editorial & Partnerships at Cookstr.com.