Here is one recipe that reminds me of home. Mugwort mochi! I posted this particular mochi recipe a while back using fresh mugworts using the mochi maker, but now that mugworts are no longer in season, I figured that this was a good time to share my microwave mugwort mochi recipe that uses powdered mugwort instead.
I'm also sharing 3 different ways you can cook and serve mugwort mochi. To skip to those sections, you can click on these links ( BASIC MUGWORT MOCHI / MUGWORT INJEOLMI / MUGWORT MOCHI PANCAKES) or use the table of contents below
So what is Mugwort?
For those who aren't familiar, Mugwort (or "ssuk" in Korean) is a perennial herb that is native to East Asia (as well as Europe). While it's been around for centuries and used for many medicinal purposes, mostly for gastrointestinal and gynecological diseases, the earthy, slightly grassy scent of the herb has been added to numerous traditional dishes. Mugwort is also the essential ingredient in several old-fashioned Korean desserts such as songpyeon, ssuk injeolmi, and ssuk beomul (recipe links included!). It's also the main ingredient in Japanese yomogi dango, as well as Chinese Qingtuan (青团).
What does Mugwort taste like?
Mugwort has a sweet, slightly bitter flavor with a pleasing fragrance that's earthy and grassy, though it depends on when the mugwort was harvested.
How can you buy Mugwort?
Mugwort can be found in many different forms including leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots. While fresh mugwort is hard to find in most US supermarkets and available in Asian grocery stores only when they're in season (spring), you can easily find the dried form of mugwort (like dried leaves) or mugwort powder in any Korean grocery stores, as well as online stores like Amazon (here). The powdered form of mugwort has a deep green color and pleasing fragrance that can be used to make tea, or to add that distinct deep green color of mugwort. It's become a rather popular ingredient in Korean bakeries. In fact, I've seen some people even call mugwort the "matcha of Korea."
Ingredients Used to Make Microwave Mugwort Mochi
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Glutinous Rice Flour - this goes by many names. You'll see Glutinous Rice Flour and Mochiko Flour (my favorite) in Asian grocery stores, and Sweet White Rice Flour in most other stores. ***Please note that regular white rice flour or brown rice flour is NOT the same thing as glutinous rice flour!!!
Mugwort Powder - For this recipe, I used the powdered mugwort powder that I purchased on Amazon (here). While it's always better to cook with the fresh herb, mugwort isn't available all seasons so the powder is a great way to make these recipes without having to go to wait for the spring.
Sugar of choice - you can use any sugar or sugar-free substitute for this recipe. You can also use equal amounts of honey, or agave syrup. I don't recommend maple syrup here since maple syrup has a distinct flavor that (in my opinion) doesn't pair well with the mugwort mochi.
Water - I used water, but you can also use almond milk or regular milk to add extra creaminess.
For the Mochi Filling, you'll need:
- Sweetened Red Bean Paste (a.k.a. Koshi An): You can find Sweetened Red Bean paste in most Asian grocery stores, and online (Amazon). There are Fine and Coarse kinds (I used coarse).
- Walnuts - (optional) I added walnuts for the additional texture and nutrition. You're welcome to leave them out or substitute with other nuts.
Step by Step Guide
How to Make Mugwort Mochi in the Microwave
In a microwave-safe bowl (preferably glass, like pyrex), mix the sweet rice flour with the sugar, water and mugwort powder.
Microwave this mixture in the microwave for 90 seconds
Once it's out, use a solid metal spoon to stir the cooked mochi mixture. Return to microwave and heat for additional 1 minute.
You'll know when it is ready when the dough is slightly translucent, as shown in the photos
Drop the hot mochi dough onto a surface lightly greased with olive oil, or sesame oil. Handle with care, or use vinyl gloves, as the mochi dough will be HOT. Unfortunately, you have to work quickly to shape the mochi before they cool.
Use kitchen shears/ scissors to cut the mochi into 8-10 pieces
Wrap the mochi dough around the prepared filling, and pinch the edges shut to seal
**To keep the mochi from sticking, wear non-stick gloves or lightly grease your hands with oil before shaping
2 Other Ways to Enjoy Mugwort Mochi
There are different ways mugwort mochi is served and dressed up with fillings and other ingredients. Here are a few, below!
MUGWORT MOCHI WITH ROASTED SOY BEAN POWDER
Roasted Soy Bean Powder, also called Kinako is a powder made from roasted soybeans that is commonly used in traditional Japanese and Korean desserts. It has a nutty and sweet flavor that's used to make a variety of other desserts such as cakes, puddings, and ice cream. It goes terrifically with rice based recipes and often sprinkled on top of mochi, like below.
It's also very easy to make, too! Just lob off small portions of the finished mugwort mochi and roll in a bed of kinako powder while it's still warm and slightly sticky. Be sure to serve these chewy morsels with honey! They turn the fine coat of the kinako powder into a deep, caramelly syrup that tastes just about divine.
FRIED MUGWORT MOCHI PANCAKES
What better way to eat mochi than to fry them? After you fill the mugwort mochi dough with your desired filling (I usually leave out the nuts when making this variation), press each of the mochi balls with the palm of your hand until flattened, then pan fry them in a little oil until the surface of the mochi is toasted and crispy.
The crispy, toasted texture of the mugwort mochi is fun and almost addicting to eat. I usually cut them in half using kitchen scissors - and serve them up with a hot barley or green tea.
Other than red or white bean paste, Mung Bean Paste is also a popular filling for mugwort mochi. I love how the bright yellow color stands out from the green rice dough better than the red bean paste.
- To make your own Sweet Mung Bean Paste, I recommend this post: Easy 2-Ingredient Mung Bean Paste for Mochi and Mooncake Filling
If you want to enjoy mochi with a variety of fillings, there are many fun and delicious mochi filling options to choose from. Go to my 10+ Different Mochi Fillings, Recipes & Ideas post below for more ideas!
How to Store Microwave Mugwort Mochi
- The mochi can be kept covered, away from direct sunlight, and at room temperature for up to 24 hours. For longer storage, I would freeze the mochi in a plastic freezer bag or an airtight container, then defrost at room temperature when ready to eat.
- The reason I don't recommend storing them in the fridge is that mochi usually tend to develop a weird waxy, hard texture when stored in the fridge. So eat within a day or freeze for best results.
- Use a solid metal spoon (wooden spoons might break!) to stir the microwaved mochi mixture so that the cooked and uncooked parts are evenly mixed
- Use a microwave-safe bowl, preferably glass like pyrex
What are the health benefits of mugwort?
There are many benefits of mugwort, but the primary benefits may include its potential for relieving menstrual pain, improving digestion, relieving anxiety and depression, aiding in weight-loss, as well as strengthening the immune system. Mugwort has also been used as a nerve relaxant, for its role in calming the nervous system and decreasing stress, making it good natural remedy for getting better nights sleep.
Mugwort is considered to be a great digestive stimulant and may be used both before and after consuming a heavy meal for relieving bloating and gas. It's also said to promote poor appetite, as well as to treat constipation, digestion disorders, and travel sickness.
Should you grow your own mugwort?
Mugwort is a hardy and highly invasive species that will rapidly grow and spread if you don't take measures to control them. So just beware if you decide you want your own homegrown mugwort. It could end up ruining your whole yard! So the short answer: no 🙂
You can Find All my Mochi Recipes (HERE)
Easy 10-Minute Microwave Mugwort Mochi Recipe
- 1 cup mochiko flour, sweet rice or glutinous rice flour about 140 g
- 2 Tbsp sugar or sweetener of choice
- 2 Tbsp mugwort powder*
- ⅘ cup water , or milk of choice
- ¾ cup sweetened red bean paste (koshi an) , or filling of choice
- ¾ cup roughly chopped walnuts (optional, for texture)
Prepare the filling (optional)
- Prepare mochi filling by mixing the red bean paste and chopped walnuts together.
- Roll about 1-2 Tablespoons of the bean paste-walnut mixture into balls. Set aside. If you would like to eat the mochi plain, you can skip this step.
Make the Mochi
- In a microwaveable glass bowl (like Pyrex), mix mochiko flour, sugar, water and mugwort powder
- Microwave this mixture on high for 2 minutes
- Use a SOLID METAL spoon (wooden spoons might break!) to stir the cooked mochi so that the cooked and uncooked parts are evenly mixed
- Microwave the mochi mixture again, this time for 1 minute. The resulting batter will be thick and slightly translucent.
- Pour the cooked mochi onto the baking pan either sprinkled with starch or lightly greased with olive oil
- Cut the mochi into 8 pieces using scissors
- Fill with prepared red bean paste filling. Enjoy!