What is a Mochi Donut & How to Make It

by Melanie Totenberg

The mochi donut is pleasantly chewy, baked or fried, and topped with a multitude of different flavored glazes. Today you can find everything from black sesame mochi donuts, banana mochi donuts, ube mochi donuts, mango mochi donuts, and even sakura mochi donuts. 

The mochi donut can be traced back to Hawaii, when Charmaine Ocasek decided to fry up a poi (mashed taro) mochi mix

Let’s dive into some brief history before we explain how you can make a mochi donut of your own. The mochi donut can be traced back to Hawaii, when Charmaine Ocasek decided to fry up a poi (mashed taro) mochi mix. 

The mochi donut in its most widely recognized form originated from Mister Donut’s “pon de ring”.  Mister Donut is one of Japan’s most popular donut shops, though it got its start in the U.S. when it was founded in 1956 by Harry Winouker, the brother-in-law to the founder of Dunkin' Donuts. Mister Donut created the iconic pon de ring donut in 2003 drawing inspiration from the Brazilian pao de quejo, a chewy cheese bread that resembles a donut hole. But Mister Donut’s pon de ring uses tapioca starch to get a soft and airy chewy texture whereas mochi donuts use glutinous rice flour. 

Liliha Bakery began making mochi donuts in the 8 ball ring pon de ring shape after the pastry team’s trip to Japan. These donuts were such a hit that the mochi donut eventually spread across the United States. Now you don’t need to fly to Hawaii or even Japan to find a  mochi donut. You can even make your own at home. If you love both mochi and donuts this is the perfect pastry for you.

Mochi Donut Recipe: 

Adapted from Simply Home Cooked

Mochi Donut Base:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (minus 1 tablespoon) 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 
  • 3/4 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 3.5 oz silken tofu
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp water

Matcha Glaze

  • 4 oz White chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream simmered
  • 1 tsp Matcha powder

Making the Mochi Donut

  1. In a large bowl, sift together 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3/4 cup glutinous rice flour, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Then set it aside.
  2. Strain the tofu and mix with egg and water. In a separate bowl, press 3.5 oz of silken tofu through a fine-mesh sieve. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the mesh to ensure all the tofu is used up. Add in 1 large egg and 2 tbsp of water. Using a whisk, mix just to combine.
  3. Add the egg and tofu mixture to the flour mixture and combine using a spatula. Once the dough begins to take shape, you can begin working it together using your clean hands. Weigh the dough balls and form into a pon de ring donut. Form the dough into little balls about 7 grams each. You should get a total of about 64 tiny balls. You will want to use a kitchen scale for this step.
  4. Cut 8 (5x5 inch) square pieces of parchment paper and begin forming donut shapes on top of each paper using 8 dough balls for each donut.
  5. Fill a heavy-bottomed pot with about 2 inches of corn or vegetable oil and heat it to 325-350 degrees Fahrenheit. For best results, use an instant-read thermometer to get the perfect oil temperature for donuts. Make sure the oil isn’t too hot or it will burn the donuts and leave them raw in the center. If the oil isn’t hot enough the donuts will overcook and become dry and hard.
  6. Place the square piece of parchment paper and donut onto a large slotted spoon and gently slip it into the hot oil. Fry ~2 donuts into the pot at a time. You don’t want to overcrowd the pot.
  7. After about a minute or so, use tongs to flip the mochi donut over. And with those same tongs, carefully peel off the parchment paper and discard. Once the donuts have browned on one side, flip them over and fry for another minute. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the donuts to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the extra oil.
  8. Prepare the donut glaze.  

Matcha Glaze: 

  1. To make the matcha glaze: add 1/4 cup of hot simmered heavy cream to 4 ounces of white chocolate chips. Mix until smooth, then whisk in 1 tsp of matcha powder. Mix again and dip a few donuts in the match glaze.

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