Not quite like bread dough but not your standard cookie dough either, mochi is a class in itself. Made with glutinous rice flour, this dough is hydrated and heated so that the starches absorb water, swell and burst. (The traditional method involves steaming and pounding cooked rice.) The result is a sticky dough that can be rolled and molded around a variety of fillings. While McKinnon grew up eating the Cantonese version known as lo mai chi, filled with red bean paste or peanut and coconut, here she uses the name for the popular Japanese treat. Her rendition is stuffed with a not-too-sweet mix of ground black sesame seeds, coconut cream and desiccated coconut. It’s just the right balance of sweet and savory, satisfying and restrained.
Turns out, making them is a bit of a balancing act, too. It’s the kind of recipe that requires attentiveness