When people think of mochi and what is used to make this sweet confectionary, they usually think it is made with just mochiko. However, this thinking is wrong– there’s another type of glutinous rice flour, and it comes in the form of shiratamako.
There are many different types of mochiko (such as mochitori-ko), but today’s topic is just covering plain ol’ mochiko.
So, what’s the difference between the two, and what are is shiratamako and mochiko? Let’s find out! 🙂
What is it?: Shiratamako (白玉粉) is a sweet, glutinous rice flour that is made from mochigome (もち米/糯米, glutinous short grain Japanese rice). The name means “white jade powder”. It’s specially processed: according to Wagashi.net, “[Shiratamako’s] properties are significantly changed: mochi rice is washed, soaked in water and ground very finely in water (in a kind of special mill).The milk white liquid is then pressed, dried and crushed. The flour isn’t a fine powder but coarse granules.”
Taste: Mochiko and shiratamako will produce different taste results. For shiratamako, you will expect a more creamier flavor than mochiko.
Texture: Again, mochiko and shiratamako is very, very different. Especially in texture! Shiratamako has a more bouncier feel when touched, and will have a more “rubbery” feel when eaten.
Price: Because of the special wet-meal-method that shiratamako goes through, it is more expensive than mochiko.
Where can I get it?: Okay, that’s actually pretty tough. I live in the US and I actually live near a lot of Asian markets, but I think the only one that carries it might be Mitsuwa. I haven’t checked. But when I searched for it in Marukai, it wasn’t there. And Ranch 99 didn’t carry it, either. Outside of US, of course… Japan will have it. But besides that, I’m sorry, but I don’t know.
One thing you could do to try to get make mochiko more like shiratamako is to mix 1 T cornstarch or potato starch per half cup of mochiko in there (this actually is called mochitori-ko). But really, shiratamako is specially processed and such, so there’s really no real substitute for it.
What is it?: Mochiko is a sweet, glutinous rice flour that is made from mochigome (もち米/糯米, glutinous short grain Japanese rice), just like shiratamako. However, it’s processed a different way: it is thoroughly washed, dried, and then ground into a fine powder. It’s the mochi flour that you think of when you think of anything to do with mochi. Because of its fine texture, mochiko is harder to use than shiratamako.
Taste: Slightly sweet (usually because sugar is added). Dissolves in your mouth, though mochi made from mochiko can be sticky.
Texture: Less elastic than shiratamako; can feel a bit soft, and possibly gooey, depending on how you make and are preparing it. Sticky.
Price: Mochiko (in the US) is relatively cheap, though I don’t know the exact price in my head. One box shouldn’t run you for more than $5, though.
Where can I get it?: Mochiko is easily accessible at almost every Asian market.