If you can’t lay your hands on Mochiko, shiratamako, joshinko, warabi powder, cornstarch, and potato starch are excellent alternatives. Like Mochiko, shiratamako and joshinko are derivatives of short-grain rice.
Let’s go over each one and see how they compare to Mochiko. We’ll also see how best to use them for desired results.
Shiratamako is similar to Mochiko because both flours are derived from the same type of large, sticky rice native to parts of Eastern Asia. Shiratamako is made from a type of naturally sweet rice. It looks rough, unlike Mochiko, which is smooth because its production process differs.
Shiratamako is easy to use, and it quickly dissolves in water. If you’re making rice balls with it, you will have smooth, chewy, bouncy rice balls at the end. Even if your rice balls get cold, that chewy texture remains. It doesn’t get soft or soggy.
Shiratamako is rare because it’s a Japan-based recipe. Shiratamako is exclusive to Japanese stores but is inexpensive.
2. Warabi Powder
Warabi powder is another excellent substitute for Mochiko. Although it won’t give you that bouncy, chewy texture of Mochiko, it replicates the soft jellylike texture and taste of Mochiko.
Warabi powder comes from the warabi plant root. The root contains a small amount of powder. You can ground the root and use it to make dishes and sweets.
Due to the quantity of powder per root, pure warabi powder is costly. In addition, it’s not safe to ingest warabi powder alone. Nevertheless, if you want to use it, there is a cheaper mixed version called warabi Mochiko.
This version contains a little warabi and other starches. You can get warabi powder and warabi Mochiko online or at any Asian store.
Cornstarch is the same as corn flour. As its name implies, it is derived from corn. It’s not too smooth and powdery. Cornstarch is used as a coating for fried foods and rice balls in baking and as a thickener of sauce, soups, gravies, pudding, etc.
Cornstarch, when used in place of Mochiko, gives you the same chewy texture Mochiko gives. However, rice balls made of cornstarch won’t taste as good as the ones made of Mochiko.
You cannot use only cornstarch to make mochi. You’ll need other ingredients. Here’s how to make mochi from corn starch.
- Heat 1 oz (35g) cornstarch, 0.7 oz (20g) sugar, and 8.45 oz (250ml) milk until it gets thick.
- Put the clumped dough into cold water.
- Drain the water. You can change the milk to water if you don’t have milk.
- Heat 1.76 oz (50g) of cornstarch and 1 oz (30g) of granulated sugar with 1 cup of water.
- When it’s clumped together, remove it from heat.
- Pass it through cold water.
The ratio for Mochiko is three tablespoons of Mochiko to one cup of any liquid of choice. This ratio may not apply with cornstarch, but you can start with it.
When you add your cornstarch, spoon by spoon, stir under heat to see how much it has thickened before adding another one. Continue adding until you get the right consistency. Cornstarch may be tricky, so don’t add too much at a time.
4. Potato Starch
Potato starch is obtained from potatoes. It’s often used for coating fried foods and as a thickener.
Potato starch is another excellent substitute for Mochiko. It has no taste, but your mochi will have a sweet and delicate texture. Keep a close eye on what you’re cooking so it doesn’t overcook. Potato starch becomes loose and soggy when overcooked.
Potato starch is a common ingredient found in many local groceries, so you don’t have to worry about going to a specialty store to find it.
5. All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour, or wheat flour, is more suitable for frying and as a thickener. When used in place of Mochiko, the ratio is ¾.
All-purpose flour contains gluten, unlike Mochiko, so it is heavy and not bouncy. You won’t get the light, elastic, chewy nature that Mochiko gives.
If that’s all you have, sift it first before using it. Also, add in a little more salt. These drills will help the final product taste good.
6. Dango Flour
If you’re in a real bind, dango flour is another option you can use in place of Mochiko, but it’s less of an alternative to Mochiko because it is a combination of both sweet and white rice flour.
However, if you want to use it, you’ll need to use about ¼ more than you would normally use if you were just using Mochiko. This ratio will help make your dough more stretchy and chewy. However, it cannot be like the one made with Mochiko.
Heavily stir or sift the dango flour before you use it to get all the lumps out. Since its texture is naturally thicker, it will be worth the extra time at the end of your meal.
If you don’t sift it properly, your final product will be lumpy. On the other hand, Dango flour can also be used for frying and making dumplings.
Joshinko is in the same family as Mochiko since they are made from the same type of rice. So you’re expecting almost the same result when using joshinko.
You can still get a chewy, elastic texture, but it’s slightly less than Mochiko. It’s softer and less chewy.
Whatever the case, if you can’t get Mochiko, Joshinko is an excellent substitute. Joshinko is even more available and cheaper to get than Mochiko. When using Joshinko, you can use the same amount as you would for Mochiko. There’s no need to double or adjust the amount.
8. Tapioca Starch
Tapioca starch is a gluten-free product. Unlike some other substitutes, tapioca starch can replace Mochiko in many recipes. Tapioca is obtained from cassava and has a bland taste.
So no matter what you use it for, the overall taste of your dish won’t be affected. For added taste, add sugar to your product. You can also use your tapioca starch as a thickener and as a bond to hold baked goods together.
9. Almond Flour
Almond flour is a healthy substitute for Mochiko. Since it’s made from almonds, it has many of the same benefits, including being an excellent source of protein. Almond flour doesn’t hold together as well as Mochiko, so you’ll need to add something to help it stick together.
Use about ½ more almond flour than you would of Mochiko because it has a finer texture, and keep in mind that it is rather flavorless.
Almond flour is readily available in supermarkets, and you can also make your almond flour at home.
For more, don’t miss Can I Substitute Cornmeal for Flour? (With 6 Alternatives).
Main photo courtesy of world.openfoodfacts.org
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.