Pumpkin Mochi

Posted by on October 27, 2010 in Blog, Desserts & Treats, Special Occasions, Traditional Holidays, Wagashi | Japanese Sweets | 20 comments

4 Pumpkin Mochi_Judy_Ung

I couldn’t resist! I had to make something gold, Lakers Gold that is, for the Lakers vs. Rockets season opening game. I’ve had nothing but pumpkins on my mind and to me, any shade of gold (yes, goldish-orangish-pumpkin-brown is close enough to Lakers gold in my book) is cause for celebrating opening night.

I’ve always had a love for pumpkin desserts. My first and most memorable experience with pumpkin is unsurprisingly pumpkin pie. It’s a dessert that I associate with Thanksgiving feasts and Marie Callendars. Growing up, we always had pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and I remember as a child thinking that the texture and taste of the pie was different than other pies we were more familiar with such as apple, fresh strawberry, and lemon meringue. It was different, but oddly delicious.

Since my early childhood experiences with Marie Callendar’s pumpkin pie, I eventually moved on to other pumpkin treats such as Cheesecake Factory’s pumpkin cheesecake. This delectable dessert is my all time favorite Fall treat. Yet, despite this love for pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin pie, I’ve never been motivated to make either by myself. Why mess with perfection, right? I would much rather sink my teeth into a slice (or two, or three) of Cheesecake Factory’s pumpkin cheesecake or Marie Callendar’s pumpkin pie.

More recently, I tried pumpkin frozen yogurt at Yogurtland, but I didn’t love it. I might try it again the next time I go back, just to give it another chance, but it was, for the most part, unimpressionable. While it’s not a dessert, I also discovered a unique find at Trader Joe’s – – – pumpkin cream cheese spread. Oh… I love this stuff. It’s my latest obsession. This spread is great with wheat toast or bagels, and I don’t even like toast or bagels for that matter. It’s also good on pumpkin bread, banana bread, and even sliced apples.

When I thought about what I wanted to make this week, I remembered a pumpkin dessert that was introduced to me two years ago. When I started writing this post, it didn’t occur to me that this dessert was offered to me at the post-funeral meal for the father of one of my childhood best friends. My friend’s father was always the cool dad. He was a regular presence in our lives while my best girlfriends and I were growing up, from childhood, teenage adolescence, college and beyond. He was the one that joked with us and always made us laugh whenever we were over at the house. He danced with us at weddings, watched Lakers games on TV with us, drank with us competitively (he never lost), and always looked after us. He was the dad that took me to play golf with him and his buddies because my Dad doesn’t golf and his daughters didn’t either. I have nothing but great, heartfelt memories of him.

Given how upset I was at the loss of my friend’s father and the grief that she and her family were enduring, I had no appetite at the time pumpkin mochi was offered to me. Until that day, I had never even heard of pumpkin mochi. While I’ve thought of my friend’s father several times over the past two years, I truly haven’t given pumpkin mochi a second thought until this week. I’ve had nothing but pumpkins on my mind since last Sunday when we visited the pumpkin patch at Tanaka Farms (we saw A LOT of pumpkins). I started to think about what I could make with pumpkin. I didn’t want to make pumpkin pie or cheesecake and couldn’t think of anything except… pumpkin mochi.

Pumpkin Mochi

Recipe compliments of AlohaWorld

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 pound box (16 ounces) Mochiko flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 – 14 ounce cans organic pumpkin (28 oz total)
  • 14 ounce can organic sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 blocks butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1) In a large bowl combine wet ingredients. I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Next add all of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture until smooth.

NOTE: Mochiko can be found at most any Asian supermarket, and possibly even at your local Ralphs or Albertsons.


I am not a believer in using mochiko flour. (Although I admit I used it for another recipe as a shortcut to a quick dessert which I will share with you shortly, but it wasn’t great.) I realized that I prefer to stay true to my roots and I enjoy mochi the most when it’s prepared the old-fashioned way, the way my ancestors made it. Traditionally, mochi is made from glutinous rice that is first steam cooked then pounded by hand (and/or machine). One of my favorite mochi desserts is homemade ohagi, the way my mom makes it.

2) Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour mixture into dish and bake 60 to 70 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Because I’d never made or eaten pumpkin mochi before, I didn’t know how to tell when it was done. It looked like a big cake on the outside, but it’s definitely not cake-like on the inside.

CHECK FOR DONENESS: I attempted to use the toothpick method to check for doneness, but I used a chopstick (don’t ask, I’m Asian, what more is there to say) instead which is why you see 4 – 5 large holes in the pumpkin mochi featured below. The first time, my chopstick didn’t come out clean and was rather wet and clumpy, so I baked it for another 10 minutes. The next time, the chopstick came out somewhat clean but it was still wet with mochi-like residue on it. Since I didn’t want to burn the ends I decided to pul it out of the oven.



ALLOW IT TO COOL:   Please be patient and allow the pumpkin mochi to cool completely. I read several recipes blog posts regarding pumpkin mochi (all the recipes were practically identical to that which I found on AlohaWorld) and all of them recommended cooling it completely, so I followed suit.

It turns out that the consistency of the pumpkin mochi is sticky and mochi-like on the inside, with a thin cake-like texture on the top and the bottom.

I can’t say that I loved my first bite. It was different. Bebe Dada said it was like really chewy pumpkin pie. He liked it. Big Onechan said it was like pumpkin rice and didn’t want to eat more than two bites. My brother loved it. He said he ended up eating most of what I gave him – about 5 or 6 squares! My BFF also said it was delicious.

If you love mochi, and you love pumpkin pie, I’m almost certain you’ll enjoy this treat. I think my Mom would really like this because she loves – loves – loves mochi. I’ll probably eat another square or so of this interesting dessert but I’m going to give most of it away. One 9 x 13 baking dish yields many squares of pumpkin mochi. Perhaps too much for our little family alone. Lucky (or unluckily) for my BFF who lives across the street because she’ll find some wrapped on her doorstep waiting for her after work.

As for last night’s Lakers game, the NBA Championship ring presentation before the game was great to watch. I felt great pride as a Lakers fan. Then the Lakers beat the Heat 112 – 110 in a close opening game. Seriously, THANK GOODNESS they won. The game was very close at times, and other times, disappointing. Let’s hope it’s going to be a good season. Let’s hope I get another text from M-kun inviting me to a game. Let’s also hope Bebe Dada comes through on his promise to take me on a date night to see my Lakers buddies in person, and up close in 2011.

In closing, this pumpkin mochi is made in loving memory of my friend’s father who also just happened to be a great Lakers fan. I know he would have been mad at the Lakers during last night’s game but that he would have also been proud that they received their 16th Championship.

Judy | bebe mama


Pumpkin Mochi
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 pound box (16 ounces) Mochiko flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 - 14 ounce cans organic pumpkin (28 oz total)
  • 14 ounce can organic sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 blocks butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl combine wet ingredients. I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  2. Next add all of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture until smooth.
  3. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Pour mixture into dish and bake 60 to 70 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  5. Check for doneness. The texture of the pumpkin mochi is wet and sticky, just like mochi.
  6. Allow it to cool completely. Repeat: please be patient and allow the pumpkin mochi to cool completely.
  7. Slice into squares.
Recipe compliments of AlohaWorld.


  1. avatar

    Ohisashiburi desu!!

    Pumpkin mochi, huh? I’m not much of a pumpkin fan, so don’t think I’ll be trying this recipe. Sounds sticky! Looks like it might popular here on the islands since the recipe used is from AlohaWorld. I’ve never tried it, and I probably wouldn’t try just because it’s pumpkin!

    • avatar

      Honto desu ne! Ohisashibuti desu!

      You’re so funny. I never knew you didn’t like pumpkin! You’re missing out, girl! Ooh, it’s very sticky- just like mochi, but I think it’s chewier because it’s baked.

  2. avatar

    you made my eyes water…yup it’ll be 2 years the same as not a baby anymore N.

    really that was the first time you had this?

    I made it a few times but one time I made it for the first thanksgiving I spent with my boyfriend (now hubby)…and I think I overcooked it….ha ha, it wasn’t so good…but maybe I’ll try again!

    cute pix of tanaka farms…we went there too at the beginning of the month for a party.

    at least the lakers pulled a win in the end and that is what counts…so excited for the new season too!


    • avatar

      It seems like just yesterday. I can’t believe how fast time flies… Yep, I’ve never tried pumpkin mochi before. I’m not a big mochi eater so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was available and I passed it up. Why am I not surprised that you overcooked it?!? :P Hope your stomach wasn’t turning when we were down by 8 or 12 points! We have an entire season ahead of us. Although they look good, it seems like there are a few rough spots they’ll need to smooth out before your tummy stops hurting. :)

    • avatar

      so i had to make your version of the pumpkin mochi for my dad’s 2nd memorial service last weekend ;) It came out really good. I must say I now remember why I don’t make it. It has so much butter and sugar and I ate way too many!

      • avatar

        aw, i’m glad it turned out well. yes, there’s TONS of good stuff, er bad ingredients in there that make this dish super yumilicious!

  3. avatar

    Judy! I always get so happy when I see your posts :) Bebe E is getting so big! What does she want to be for Halloween this year? Or is she still too young to have an opinion? I think you should dress her up as a bumble bee! Little baby bees are so cute, don’t you think?
    I love pumpkin mochi! The first time I had it was at a christmas party last year and it looked JUST like yours.

    • avatar

      So funny because I almost picked the bumble bee costume but gave her a choice between the lady bug fairy outfit and the kangaroo (she has limited opinions guided by what I present to her – LOL) and she reached out for the kangaroo. Probably because there was a removable stuffed baby kangaroo in the kangaroo costume’s pouch. :)

  4. avatar

    Pumpkin mochi sounds good. I don’t think I’ve had it before. My cousin always makes butter mochi for New Year’s. I’ve had peanut butter before from one Fugetsu-do I think which was not bad. Another great post. Aloha!

    • avatar

      Aloha, Evan! Thank you. :) Funny you mention butter mochi because I researched a recipe for that and planned to make that at some point. Stay tuned!

  5. avatar

    I make something similar with Mochiko, but never had with pumpkin. I will definitely try it with pumpkin next time. Koreans often add pumpkin to their rice cakes.

    • avatar

      Ah, that’s interesting! I never knew pumpkin and mochi was common in Korean cuisine. I’d love to see what you make with mochiko. :)

  6. avatar

    Hi Judy! I’ve seen pumpkin everything else, might as well have pumpkin mochi, too :)
    Bebe will be so cute in her kangaroo costume – have a fun Halloween! I miss those days! P.S. I posted a sukiyaki recipe and thought of you!

    • avatar

      Thanks, Priscilla! We had a wonderful Halloween. I’ll always remember this one b/c it was her first time trick-or-treating. :) I’ll stop by and visit your sukiyaki. :)

  7. avatar

    Your daughter is getting so big! Hope she had fun picking pumpkins!

    Oh my gosh, that mochi looks wonderful. I have to stay away from mochi though – I literally could eat the whole batch. I love pumpkin and I love mochi. I wish I lived closer to you so I could just have a square or two! A whole pan full if I made it myself would kill me! In Japan I was my heaviest — I think because of all the mochi and anpan my co-workers would bring in EVERY DAY, which I would eat at tea time. I have no willpower when it comes to mochi. lol.

    • avatar

      I know… she is growing up so fast! Please, how do I get her to slow down?!?

      That’s so funny about the mochi. I’m not a big mochi fan (I love chocolate) but it’s always interesting to hear how much folks love mochi. My mom is the same way. :)

  8. avatar

    Hi Judy, what adorable pictures :)
    I love pumpkin and would probably like this, but I am not too familiar with mochi…and chewy pumpkin pie???
    Your friend’s dad sounds like such a great man and it’s nice that you have such good memories.
    I am practically obsessed with Cheesecake Factory pumpkin cheesecake :) But I have not tried that spread from TJ’s, but I will look for it.

    • avatar

      Thanks, Alisha. Mochi is not something I love, but there are many who do. It’s definitely worth trying once. Confession: I’ve had 2 slices of pumpkin cheesecake over the last 3 days. We only have until the end of this month!!!

  9. avatar

    Wow! These looks so appetizing ! I’m gonna try this recipe of yours! Thanks for sharing! Have a lovely day! :)

    • avatar

      Thank you, I hope you will enjoy the dish!