Warabi mochi is a delectable traditional Japanese dessert. With its soft and chewy texture, subtly sweet flavour, and delicate appearance, this beloved treat has become a staple in Japanese cuisine. Made from warabi starch then covered in kinako (roasted soybean powder) and drizzled with kuromitsu syrup, warabi mochi is a dessert with a unique flavour and texture that is a must try for anyone. Discover how to make warabimochi in the comfort of your own kitchen and enjoy this delicious Japanese dessert at home.
What is Warabi Mochi
Warabi mochi is a traditional Japanese dessert similar to regular mochi. However, unlike the typical mochi that you may be familiar with, warabimochi is not made from glutinous rice. Instead, warabimochi is made from warabi starch or bracken starch called warabimochiko in Japan. Warabi mochiko is a starch extracted from the rhizomes (the underground stem) of bracken, which is a type of fern. Since it is made from this starch rather than glutinous rice, it has a less chewy texture than mochi and is more squishy and soft like a firm jelly.
Warabi mochi offers a lighter and more delicate experience with each jelly-like piece melting in your mouth. The mochi itself doesn’t really have a flavour either. The flavour of the dessert comes from its toppings. Warabimochi is most often served with kinako (roasted soybean powder) and drizzled with kuromitsu (a type of dark brown sugar syrup) that gives the dessert a delicious sweet and nutty flavour blend. The unique texture and subtly sweet taste makes it an absolute delight for those with or without a sweet tooth.
Warabi Mochi Ingredients
The common and main ingredients of warabi mochi are bracken starch, sugar and water. In addition, you need to prepare kinako soybean powder and Kuromitsu black sugar syrup to serve.
Three types of warabi powder are available in Japan. They are hon warabiko, warabiko and warabimochiko.
Hon warabiko (pure bracken starch) is bracken starch domestically produced in Japan and is made from 100% bracken root. It is often used in high end Japanese sweets, as it takes time and effort to produce and therefore it is rare and expensive. Hon warabiko is characterized by its dark gray colour. This makes the warabimochi made from this powder black in colour and makes it look quite different from ordinary warabi mochi. It has a smooth fine texture that melts in your mouth.
Warabiko is a mixture of bracken starch, lotus root starch and other modified starch. It is slightly grayish in colour due to the addition of hon warabiko. It is not as dark as hon warabiko and has a more whitish appearance at first glance. The texture is soft and elastic compared to hon warabiko. The price is also more affordable, so unless you want to be very particular about this ingredient, warabiko is a good choice. However there are differences in the quality. Choose the flour which uses as few ingredients as possible other than hon warabiko.
Warabimochiko refers to the most common product that is sold to make this type of mochi and is often made from sweet potato starch or tapioca starch. Warabimochiko is readily available and a good affordable option.
You can purchase Warabiko or Warabimochiko from Japanese grocery stores. They are also available online.
When it comes to warabi mochi toppings, kinako soybean powder and kuromitsu are two exceptional choices that enhance the flavor profile of this traditional Japanese dessert. Kinako adds a nutty and slightly sweet taste, while kuromitsu provides a deep and rich sweetness.
Kinako soybean powder is made from roasted soybeans. It has a unique nutty flavour somewhat like peanuts and a subtle sweetness which enhances the taste of warabi mochi.
Kuromitsu (translated to black honey in Japanese) is a traditional Japanese sweet syrup with a deep, rich flavour and smooth consistency that perfectly complements warabi mochi. Kuromitsu adds a unique depth of flavour and a delicious sweetness.
Instructions on How to Make Warabi Mochi
- Place the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat to boil.
- Stir the mixture with a spatula until it thickens into a translucent gelatinous texture.
- Cool it to set and serve with the toppings you like.
Substitutes and Variations
If you can not access the bracken starch (explained above), you can use katakuriko potato starch as a substitution. Also if you are looking for low carb options, you can also use Psyllium powder. Psyllium is full of dietary fiber and gives a feeling of fullness so if you are on diet then this is good option. The sugar can also be replaced with monk tree sugar.
If you want to try something other than the classic combination of kinako and kuromitsu, among the most popular variations for warabi mochi are matcha and milk. These variations offer a unique twist and a different flavour experience.
How to Serve Warabi Mochi
What makes warabi mochi truly special is its versatility in serving options. It can be enjoyed on its own as a simple yet satisfying snack or paired with various toppings. It is commonly served with Kinako soybean powder or kuromitsu (黒蜜 in Japanese) but other options include azuki bean paste, matcha powder, or fresh fruits like strawberries or mangoes.
Tips for Making Warabi Mochi
- Keep stirring with a spatula as if you are kneading until the mixture gradually becomes glossy and transparent.
- Warabi mochi will harden the longer it is cooled, so use a small steel tray with high thermal conductivity and take it out of the refrigerator as soon as it reaches your desired hardness.
A : While it is low in calories and fat compared to other desserts, it should still be consumed in moderation due to its high sugar content.
A : You should eat them all on the day it is made as warabi mochi does not last long because of its high moisture and starch content. When warabi mochi is refrigerated, it loses transparency and hardens like nata de coco. So it is best eaten on the day, refrigerating is not recommended.
- 40 g Warabimochiko *1
- 20 g sugar
- 200 ml water
- ¼ cup kinako soybean powder *2
- 1 tbsp kuromitsu for topping
- Place warabimochiko and sugar in a mixing bowl and add water little by little and mix well with a spatula to dissolve.
- Strain the mixture through a strainer and transfer to a saucepan.
- Heat the saucepan over medium heat while stirring with a wooden spatula continually.
- Reduce heat to low and continue kneading until the dough becomes transparent and glossy.
- When it is all transparent, put the dough onto a wet bat and let it cool at room temperature.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
- When the warabiimochi dough has cooled appropriately, prepare a separate tray and sprinkle kinako soybean flour.
- Place the cooled warabimochi on there and cut it to bite size pieces and sprinkle more soybean flour all over.
- Serve warabimochi on a small plate and pour Kuromitsu to your liking.