If you are making a recipe that asks for mochiko flour or sweet rice flour but you don’t have any on hand, you may want to try a mochiko flour substitute. While they aren’t perfect substitutes, they can work really nicely depending on the recipe.
What is mochiko flour?
Mochiko flour or sweet rice flour is a type of flour made from mochigome, a glutinous short grain white rice. It is a gluten-free flour and looks like a white, fine powder. It may be called other names such as glutinous rice flour or sticky rice flour.
It is used in a variety of Japanese dishes such as wagashi, mochi, rice crackers and dango as well as Korean and Filipino desserts and Chinese dumplings. In Hawaiian cuisine, mochiko flour is used to make mochiko chicken, butter mochi and various cakes.
It can also be used as a thickening agent or coating for fried foods and meats.
What does it taste like?
While I don’t recommend consuming mochiko flour by itself, it does have a distinct texture in the foods it’s used in. It has a sticky texture due to its high starch content and a bit of a sweet flavor (which makes sense considering it’s often called sweet rice flour).
It has a chewy texture in many dishes it’s used in such as mochi or dango. It even has a bit of a nutty flavor, depending on the dish. Overall, it’s finer and sweeter than normal wheat flour and creates a unique squishy texture.
What recipes use it?
Mochiko flour is a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine and gluten-free baking. It’s also a rather versatile ingredient, being used in mostly sweet treats, but also savory protein dishes.
Most popularly it’s used in Japanese cuisine, but is also used in Korean, Filipino, Chinese and Hawaiian dishes. Here are a few recipes that use mochiko flour:
- Wagashi: traditional Japanese sweets
- Mochi: sticky rice cake
- Chichi dango: soft and chewy rice dumplings
- Manju: sweet bean-filled pastry
- Hittsumi: dumplings made with Mochiko flour
- Mochiko chicken: crispy fried chicken coated in Mochiko flour
- Butter mochi: moist and buttery rice cake
Where to purchase it
You may be able to find mochiko flour at your local grocery store, but you’re more likely to find it at Asian grocery stores or Asian markets. Mochiko flour will be located in the section with other flours, specifically rice flours. I like the Koda Farms Mochiko Flour (affiliate link).
What is its shelf life?
Mochiko rice flour should last about 6 months to a year when stored in a sealed container or bag in a cool, dark area of your pantry. To extend the shelf life, store the flour in your refrigerator or freezer. Also, double bag the flour to ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible.
9 Best Substitutes for Mochiko Flour
The following are good alternatives to try out when you can’t find any mochiko flour at the store or simply don’t have any on hand. You will likely have some of the substitutes already on hand.
1. Shiratamako flour
Shiratamako flour is very similar to mochiko flour and will be the best alternative in most recipes. It is another kind of sweet rice flour made from glutinous flour. In fact, they are commonly used interchangeably in recipes.
While they are made from the same kind of rice, the processing methods differ. Shiratamako flour is made by grinding up rice and pressing out excess liquid. This leaves the flour more coarse than mochiko flour, which is very fine and powder-like.
Shiratamako flour can be used as mochi flour similar to mochiko flour. The result will be more soft and bouncy than mochi made with mochiko flour.
2. White rice flour
White rice flour or regular rice flour is another great mochiko flour substitute. It’s not nearly as sticky as mochiko flour flour due to it being less starchy, but it has a similar flavor.
White rice flour is made of, you guessed it, white rice. But it is made of medium or long grain rice, as opposed to short grain glutinous rice. This makes the flour less starchy overall.
This kind of flour is used to make rice noodles and rice cakes and is commonly used as a thickening agent in various Asian recipes. It is also used in various baking applications and is commonly used in Western countries in gluten-free baking.
3. Tapioca flour
Tapioca flour, also known as tapioca starch, is another great substitute for mochiko flour. It is very starchy, similar to mochiko flour and has a similar texture.
Tapioca starch comes from the cassava plant, originating from South America. Tapioca is what is used to make tapioca pudding, but this is typically made from tapioca pearls, not flour.
Tapioca flour is used to make a variety of dishes including Brazilian cheese bread (pao de queijo). It is also commonly used in Western gluten-free baking.
4. Arrowroot powder
Arrowroot powder or arrowroot starch is another starchy flour that can be used as a replacement for mochiko rice flour. It looks very similar to mochiko flour, sharing a white color and fine powder texture.
Arrowroot powder comes from the arrowroot plant, Maranta arundinacea, which is a tropical tuber plant. These plants are dried and ground.
It is commonly used as a thickener, similar to cornstarch. Over the last decade it’s become popular in gluten-free baking circles. It’s also considered paleo, making it even more popular.
5. Potato starch
Potato starch is another good replacement for mochiko flour. It is a starchy flour that is commonly used as a replacement for cornstarch due to its thickening properties.
You could probably guess what potato starch is made of… that’s right, potatoes! Potatoes are very starchy root vegetables, making their starch a great thickener. While their flavor is a bit different from mochiko rice flour, they can serve a similar purpose.
Potato starch is commonly used as a thickener in various savory dishes like soups, sauces and stews. It tolerates higher temperatures than cornstarch and can add moisture to baked goods.
6. Corn starch
Cornstarch is another great alternative to mochiko rice flour due to its fine texture and superior thickening properties. Plus, it’s a very cheap and widely available product.
As suspected, cornstarch is made from a carbohydrate in corn. It’s not to be mistaken for cornmeal which is simple ground up dried corn. This will be far more fibrous than cornstarch.
Cornstarch is used in various applications, but is commonly used as a thickener in savory dishes like sauces, soups and gravies. It can also be used to coat meats to increase crispiness in the cooking process. It’s most commonly used in North America and Asia.
7. Cassava flour
Cassava flour is another great alternative to mochiko rice flour. It is a starchy flour that even looks similar to rice flour.
It comes from the cassava plant, similar to tapioca starch. The plant is peeled, dried and milled into cassava flour for you to enjoy. Tapioca starch is made from only the starch of the plant, while cassava flour is made from the whole plant.
Cassava flour is used in a variety of dishes including breads, cakes and muffins. It is a gluten-free flour so it’s popular among those who have Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.
8. Sorghum flour
Sorghum flour is another good mochiko flour substitute. It’s a finely ground powder like mochiko flour, but it does have a darker, yellowish brown coloring.
It is made from sorghum, which is a cereal grain similar to wheat. It has a hint of sweetness, making it similar to mochiko flour, but its texture more so resembles wheat flour.
Sorghum flour can sometimes leave a sour taste in baked goods, so it’s usually combined with other flours. It doesn’t contain gluten so it is commonly used in gluten-free baking.
9. Buckwheat flour
Buckwheat flour is another good substitute for mochiko rice flour. While I would first recommend the above options before trying buckwheat flour, it can be a good substitute in a pinch.
While it sounds like buckwheat flour is made from wheat, it’s actually gluten-free and made from the buckwheat plant. It’s actually not even considered a grain, though that is how it is typically used.
Buckwheat flour is used in a variety of dishes including Russian blini and buckwheat crepes. It is higher in fiber compared to mochiko rice flour and closely resembles whole wheat flour.
Recipe for mochiko chicken
Mochiko chicken is a delicious, crispy fried chicken that is Hawaiian in origin. It is considered a fusion dish since it incorporates influences from Japanese immigrants.
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup mochiko flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- Oil, for frying
- In a mixing bowl, combine the mochiko flour, cornstarch, soy sauce, brown sugar, water, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Stir well to create a smooth batter.
- Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Place the chicken in the bowl with the batter and toss until all the pieces are evenly coated. Let the chicken marinate in the batter for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
- In a large frying pan or deep fryer, heat vegetable oil to around 350°F (175°C).
- Carefully drop the chicken pieces into the hot oil, a few at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the chicken for about 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Remove the cooked chicken from the oil and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked.
- Once all the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a serving platter. Serve the Mochiko chicken hot with steamed rice or as a delicious appetizer. Enjoy!