Mugwort is a popular herb used in Korean cooking and commonly added to mochi to add an earthy, herbaceous sweet note. Here’s how you can make mugwort mochi (쑥 모찌) using a mochi maker at home!
**UPDATE 6/6/2022 Since mugwort is no longer in season, I figured that this was a good time to write a mochi recipe that uses powdered mugwort instead. Here’s the link to the recipe! –> How to Make Microwave Mugwort Mochi (3 Different Ways)
**I’ve linked some of these ingredients and equipment 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 White Rice (also called sweet white rice) – glutinous white rice is different from regular white rice in that it has a sticky, supple, chewy texture when cooked. When steamed and pounded, it becomes the “mochi” or “sweet rice cake” (as we Koreans call it) that is popularly sold in East Asian dessert shops or stores. Here are some examples of Glutinous White Rice online that you can use to make mochi: here and here. (I’m only recommending the Korean and Japanese brands because that’s what I used successfully in the past. I haven’t ever tried using Thai Sticky Rice to make mochi so I’m not sure if it’ll be the same). You can also use Glutinous BROWN Rice–see my other post!
Do PLEASE note that the results will BE VERY DIFFERENT AND NOT THE SAME when using regular long, medium, short grain or sushi rice. So double-check and make sure you’re using Glutinous or Sweet Rice when making mochi.
- Mugwort – Mugwort is a popular herb used in Korean cooking and commonly added to mochi to add an earthy, herbaceous sweet note. Unfortunately, fresh mugwort is hard to find in most American stores, and not always available in Asian stores when they’re not in season. If this is the case for you, can also use 2-3 Tbsp of mugwort powder as a substitute. I haven’t yet tried using dried mugwort leaves but in theory they should work, too.
Equipment You’ll Need
- Mochi Maker- A mochi maker lets you easily turn rice into mochi. I guess it’s sort of an equivalent to bread makers for us Asians? The big two brands are Tiger and Zojirushi. You put the raw (uncooked), soaked rice into the mochi maker and let it steam and pound the rice into mochi! It’s a handy appliance to have at home if you like mochi and intend to make them regularly, and I like it better than making mochi from rice flour since
- the whole grain rice is less processed than rice flour
- cost-saving (since rice is usually cheaper than the flour) **but only if you make and eat a lot of mochi since the machine itself is expensive**
- makes less of a mess and easier to clean
- Sesame Oil – I personally like using toasted sesame oil when making mochi because it helps adds depth of flavor to the resulting mochi. But you can also use any oil you have at home such as olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil.
Other Mochi Maker Recipes
IS “GLUTINOUS” RICE GLUTEN-FREE?
Yes, it is! The word “glutinous” refers to the sticky, glutinous texture / consistency of the rice, not the “gluten” that’s found in most wheat products. That’s why rice is a terrific choice for those following a gluten-free diet.
How to Make
Mugwort Mochi Using a Mochi Maker
Wash and rinse the glutinous white rice until the water is no longer cloudy. Soak the rice in water (about 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of rice) and let sit overnight in room temperature, up to 12 hours. You can leave it covered or uncovered.
Prepare the Mochi maker machine by filling it with about 2 cups of water (there is a separate area for this, right below where the steamer bowl should be placed). This water will be used by the machine to steam the rice.
Now that the water is filled, fit the bowl into the machine. DRAIN the water from the soaked rice using a sieve
Transfer the drained rice into the bowl of the mochi maker
close the lid and press STEAM
As the mochi maker steams the rice (which takes about 30 minutes), PREPARE THE MUGWORT by either (1) blanching it in boiling water for 1 minute or (2) microwaving it for 1 minute. Drain excess water and chop roughly using a sharp knife
After about 30 minutes, a buzzer-like alarm will go off when the rice has finished steaming. Now, press POUND. The machine will start churning and “pounding” the cooked rice. Add the drained MUGWORT into the machine and let it continue the mixing process, with the salt and sugar.
At first the mochi will appear lumpy and you’ll see clumps of mugwort leaves throughout, but it takes about 15 minutes for the mochi to come together.
Once smooth and supple (about 15 minutes in the pounding process), stop the machine and remove the mochi bowl from the machine.
Turn over the mochi onto a tray greased with a little oil
Cut using scissors or fingers, tear off large chunks while warm if you’d like to fill them with sweetened bean paste or other fillings of choice! I used a perilla (sesame seed leaf) for the photos above. Enjoy~
What if you don’t have a mochi maker?
Now you can make mochi in the microwave using glutinous white rice flour (a.k.a. sweet rice flour, mochiko flour). Check out the recipe, HERE!
You can Find All my Mochi Recipes (HERE)
Mugwort Mochi Using a Mochi Maker
- Mochi Maker Machine
SOAK THE RICE IN WATER OVERNIGHT
- 5 cups glutinous white rice or sweet white rice*
- enough water for soaking about 10 cups
ADD TO THE STEAMER
- 2 cups of water
ADD DURING THE POUNDING PROCESS
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp sugar, honey or maple syrup optional
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup hot water
- 3 cup fresh or frozen mugwort
- Wash, rinse then soak the 5 cups of glutinous white rice in double the amount of water in a bowl or large container overnight (about 8-12 hours). Drain.
- PREPARE THE MOCHI MAKER by filling it with 2 cups of water (there is a separate area for this, right below where the steamer bowl should be placed).
- Fit the bowl and paddle into the machine
- Transfer the drained rice into the steamer bowl.
- Close the lid and press STEAM (takes about 30 minutes, an alarm will go off when it's done)
- As the mochi maker steams the rice (which takes about 30 minutes), PREPARE THE MUGWORT: by either (1) blanching it in boiling water for 1 minute or (2) microwaving it for 1 minute. Drain excess water and chop roughly using a sharp knife. You should get about 1 cup of cooked/chopped mugwort**
- Add the salt, sugar, drained mugwort and water as the rice starts mixing. Use 1/3 cup water for a chewier mochi, or 1/2 cup water for a softer, more flexible mochi.*** You can also add mugwort powder if you don't have fresh mugwort.
- Allow the mochi machine to pound the rice for 15-20 minutes and stop the machine. Pour into a well greased pan.
- Use the mochi dough immediately to shape into desired shape or fill with sweetened bean paste.
- I've used a perilla (sesame seed) leaf to wrap the mugwort mochi in the photos