So I bought a large 796 ml (795 grams) can of pure pumpkin puree in preparation for making Chocolate Pumpkin Lava Cake last weekend. I only used about 80 grams of it though, so all week I’ve been thinking of ways to use up the leftover puree. Of course, the first thing that came to mind was pumpkin pie. But I wanted to make something a little more unique. In keeping with the October theme of Halloween and pumpkins, I decided to make mochi in the shape of pumpkins!
You will find these pumpkin mochi in some Chinese restaurants, however, they’re traditionally filled with red bean paste. Since I’ve been experimenting with fusion flavours, I decided to make them with a “pumpkin pie” filling instead! The use of glutinous rice flour is what gives mochi its signature soft, sticky and chewy texture.
“Mochi” actually refers to a Japanese rice cake, but the word is now widely used to describe all kinds of super chewy Asian snacks made with a glutinous rice flour dough. There are actually many different kinds of these snacks, both sweet and savoury.
I honestly didn’t know how these mochi would turn out, so I was pleasantly surprised when they not only looked decent (and so cute!), but they tasted great too! I don’t even think the recipe needs any tweaking! I would’ve liked them to be a brighter orange, but I think the colour varies depending on what kind of pumpkin you use, and whether it’s fresh or canned. Anyway, the most important thing is that they’re delicious! If you have more of a sweet tooth, you can add 1/4 cup more packed brown sugar in the filling. But for me, it was the perfect amount of sweetness.
Did you make this recipe?
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PUMPKIN MOCHI (Makes 13 pieces)
305 grams pure pumpkin puree
50 grams (4 tablespoons) white sugar
215 grams glutinous rice flour, sifted
15 grams (2 tablespoons) cornstarch, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
13 whole cloves
oil, for brushing
410 grams pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1. Make the filling first by adding all the filling ingredients into a saucepan. Stir over medium low heat (about 20 minutes) until most of the moisture has evaporated and the consistency is like a thick paste. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2. Prepare the mochi dough in a large bowl by first mixing the pumpkin puree with sugar.
3. Add sifted glutinous rice flour, cornstarch and salt. Mix by hand until a dough forms. It should be smooth, soft and pliable, and not sticky (if it’s too wet/sticky, add more glutinous rice flour, a little at a time; if it’s too dry, add a little bit of water until you get the right consistency).
4. Divide the mochi dough into 45-gram balls. Roll each into a smooth ball. Cover with plastic wrap.
5. Divide the filling into 22-gram portions (approximately one heaping tablespoon). The filling will be too soft to roll into a balls so you can use a spoon to divide it up.
6. Take a ball of mochi, use your hands and fingers to flatten it until you have a roughly round piece of dough about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter.
7. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to put in the filling, then seal it by bringing the edges of the dough together with your fingers. Then roll into a smooth ball. (Don’t worry if you see some small “cracks” in the dough – just slightly wet your finger and run it over the crack to smooth it out).
8. Slightly flatten the filled mochi ball. Then, using the back (dull side) of the blade of a small knife, press it into the dough to make indents all around to resemble a pumpkin. Top with a clove to make the “stem”.
9. Place pumpkin mochi an inch apart, on a cheesecloth-lined steamer over a pot of cold water. Cover with a lid, turn heat to high and steam for 13 to 15 minutes.
10. Gently remove cooked mochi onto a lightly greased serving plate. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each mochi piece with a little oil, which helps to keep the mochi moist.
Note: Mochi is best eaten the day it’s made, and preferably within a day. It can usually keep for 24 hours at room temperature. If keeping longer than a day, it should be refrigerated. Mochi hardens when cold, but it can be heated up in the microwave.