I first encountered daifuku at one of my favorite restaurants in Western Massachusetts, Fresh Side. In their deli case were these cute little white and green pillow-looking desserts, sitting behind a hand-written card that said: Mochi (vegan).

I ordered one and when I bit into it, it was such a surprise. First, the texture! It’s like a dense marshmallow, chewy and soft. Sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. Next, the filling. Beans. Beans? Beans. This particular mochi was fillied with a sweetened red bean paste, also called anko, and I think it was the first time I had ever had sweet beans. And it was really good!

Now, if I understand correctly, mochi is a catch-all term for a sweet dessert made with glutenous rice flour dough. It can be baked, wrapped around ice cream, eaten plain, or filled. Filled mochi, like the ones I’m blogging about today, are called daifuku.

Anko is one of the most common fillings, but many people also use berries. Strawberry filled ones are very popular in the spring, and they’re called ichigo daifuku. Whole raspberries also work, and sometimes people include a white sweetened bean paste (as opposed to red) known as shiroan.


Now what if I told you that I made these in the microwave?

I know!


I was skeptical, too. The microwave in my house is pretty much reserved for reheating leftovers. When I decided to make these, I was sort of shocked that all the recipes online called for nuking the dough. What’s more, they were pretty unclear about how to tell when you’re dough is ready. Microwaves seem to vary so much in power, 3 minutes in one microwave is very different than 3 minutes in another. But I decided to give it a go, and not only did it work, but it was really, really easy. If you are able to find pre-made red bean paste, you can make this whole recipe with only a microwave and just a few minutes.

So not only do you not need a kitchen for these (hello dorm-living vegans!), they’re also gluten free (hi celiacs!), soy free (hi soy…allergic lovelies!), fast (hi lazy people!), customizable (hi picky people!), and did I mention CUTE? Traditional colors are white, green, and pink, but food coloring isn’t required if it grosses you out. Matcha (green tea powder) is a natural and delicious flavoring that makes the mochi green.

MochikoNow the one thing you absolutely need, no substitutions, is mochiko. It’s glutenous rice flour, and no other flour will work for this. You can find it easily at any asian market.

Also make sure you have some cornstarch or potato starch handy, the dough is very sticky!

Makes 10-12 Filled Cakes

1 Cup Mochiko
1/4 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Water
2-3 Drops red or green food coloring, optional
Cornstarch or Potato Starch, for dusting

Filling Ideas
Anko (store bought or recipe below)

Makes enough for 3-4 batches of daifuku

1 14 oz Can Adzuki Beans
1/2 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tbs Vegetable Oil
1-2 Pinches Salt

Heat water and sugar separately until boiling and sugar is dissolved, turn off heat. Drain and rinse beans.

Adzuki Beans

Add to a pan and mash. Add 1/3 cup of the simple syrup you just made, along with salt and vegetable oil, and mash over medium heat. Beans will thicken and become slightly glossy. Add more syrup if desired. Turn out into a bowl and let cool.

Making the Mochi

Add the mochiko, sugar, water, and food coloring (if using) to a microwave safe bowl. Stir well, making sure there are no lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as best you can with a rubber spatula, otherwise they’ll get all gross when the dough is microwaved.

Daifuku Dough

Cover lightly with plastic wrap and mircowave for 2 minutes. Remove bowl from the microwave and stir VERY well. Dough will be much thicker, but there should still be some raw parts underneath. I like to use a sturdy silicone spatula to mix the dough at this point. Place the dough back in the microwave for 1 more minute.

Open the door and peek–did the dough start sinking as soon as the door opened? If so, the dough was inflating while cooking, which means it’s ready. If not, microwave for 1 more minute and check again. You shouldn’t have to microwave for more than 4 minutes total (2 minutes initial cooking, 2 more additional minutes after mixing).

One the dough deflates when you open the door, remove the dough from the microwave and scrape it out onto a cornstarch-coated cutting board.

Daifuku Dough

Pat the hot dough (be careful! It’s hot!) with cornstarch and flatten it out a little. Cut into 10-12 even pieces. Add 1 tsp of filling to each piece and gently press the edges together to seal.

Making Daifuku

Here’s the whole process in a little HD video for you to watch! No sound, so don’t worry about turning down the volume if you’re at work. The video starts right after I took the dough out of the mircowave and dumped it onto the cutting board.

Making Daifuku on Vimeo.

The best way to keep these fresh is to individually wrap them in plastic wrap and then refrigerate. If you leave them out, unwrapped, they’ll get dry and tough. Enjoy!

Daifuku with Anko Filling


  1. GLH

    thank you!
    first off, i went to amherst college about 10 years ago and fresh side was my little escape. i used to sit on the futon they had in the window, order my mushroom rice and tea, and sit there for hours. the owner was so sweet and i always thought of it as my little hideaway. i’m glad to hear it’s still there!
    second, my husband is obsessed with mochi, especially after a trip to japan a few years ago. he always wants me to make them but i never knew how. until now…won’t he be surprised tomorrow when i break out these bad boys!
    i’m so glad i found this site :)

  2. yoel

    Thank you! Great childhood memories! I didn’t realize the dough was cooked before it was formed into the separate pastries. I seem to remember filling raw (or maybe partially-cooked) dough and then steaming them. Korean ones for holidays are often filled wtih a sweet sesame seed mixture. So good!

  3. Heather

    OMG! You just made my day!!!

    I lived in Belchertown, and my husband and I used to go to Fresh Side for those little tasy morsels all the time. Now we live in Salem, and I crave them all the time. I cannot thank you enough for sharing this recipe!!!!

  4. RaeRae

    holy cats!! these look amazingly good… i’ve been addicted to Mochi for years, so i’ll definitely need to try these out.

    thanks! :)

  5. stephchows

    Seriously cute!! And so easy! I need to make a trip to the Asian mart ASAP… plus I”m out of edamame, so I’m glad I saw this before I went! :)

  6. VanessaisSleeping

    Oh, these look fantastic! I graduated from Mt. Holyoke in 2005 also (holy small world!) and we still make the trip to Fresh Side. So delicious! I’ve heard of peanut butter filled mochi (I wonder if chocolate peanut butter would be good…)
    I’m going mochiko hunting this weekend!

  7. GLH

    ok, just made these. can we say “the easiest things to make”!? the only thing was deciding exactly how to cut them. i think little squares are the best. i just tried to avoid having too much dough on the bottom after pinching it all together. you also need to work pretty fast or the dough will get a little brittle and dry. luckily here in san francisco we have a japantown with a great market and i found the bean paste all ready to go! i look forward to experimenting with different flavors. thanks again, you rock!

  8. Ashly

    Ok, I have what may be a stupid question regarding the rice flour. Is Mochiko the brand? I have some white rice flour in my cabinet and am wondering if that is ok, or if it has to be “mochiko”– or again, whether that denotes a brand name or what.
    Sorry for the Captain Obvious question– I just wanted to make sure before I ran in search of Mochiko, which may not be as easy to find where I am.

  9. Nityda

    I used to live in Japan and I absolutely adore daifuku; it reminds me of my Okinawa days! I never thought to make it at home. Cannot wait to try it out.


  10. jennifer

    I love these things, and I never would have imagined that they would be easy to make. I’m going to try it out, thanks for sharing this recipe. In these sweet pastel colors wouldn’t they be a fun non-traditional Easter treat?

  11. Delyla

    I think I may know a special little boy who might like to try making, playing with and hopefully eating this dough. Especially if I could make it purple! :)

  12. michal

    man, i love mochi! there’s a fantastic mochi shop in LA’s little Tokyo *if you’re ever around”. my favorite filling is peanut butter and honey (for the non vegans – i’m sure agave nectar can make a good substitute): 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter + about three tablespoons of honey/agave nectar. blend together, fill and enjoy!

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  14. Jessica Sokol

    Fresh Side!!! Whoo hoo! I live in Western MA, LoneWolf is very close by to FS and has a whole vegan breakfast menu, if you haven’t been, its delicious! Love the sweet treats you made :)

  15. Ashley

    I love those! I can’t believe you made them. I by them in Japan Town whenever I’m there. Did you know that some of them have choking hazard warning on them for children and the elderly?! Weird.

  16. Ashly

    I made them after a frantic (and fruitful) search for the Mochiko; but…. I can’t figure out how to get the ice cream not to melt. :) The pieces need to be larger for ice cream, to get the mochi to close properly.
    Thanks for the recipe, Lolo! Even with nothing in these, they are fantastic!!

  17. Kyle

    My favourite Sydney Sushi Bar, Makoto, in Liverpool St in the city, make their Mochi with a fresh strawberry buried in the red-bean paste – yum-oh!

  18. Amber

    yum! These turned out really good. Then it got me wondering what to do with the leftover bean paste. So since my other favorite sweet bean paste treat is steamed buns, I made those too. Check out the recipe for “chinese steamed buns” on allrecipies.com.

  19. Lyndsey

    Mochi Daifuku! They had these in Ham dining hall one night (some cultural event I think) and ever since then I’ve been in love! I tried to make them in Richmond but, well… I’m not much of a cook… so I forgot that beans expand when soaked overnight (that was a big mess) and I used raw glutenous rice flour (in a package where I couldn’t read anything more than that… I think it was from Thailand, which probably counted against it) and it didn’t work very well (that was an even bigger, stickier mess (but tasty))…
    I’ll have to keep my eye open for Mochiko. Attempt #2 coming up!

  20. ken

    thank you so much of sharing how to made these, I always loves mochi ice cream for many years, but never get a chance to made it. Now I can made my own mochi ice cream at home by just stuff the ice cream, yay.

  21. Dawne

    I so much appreciate the diversity of your blog! Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to trying it, as well as possible savory options with the dough as well! : )

  22. Katie

    I just recently had mochi for the first time and loved it so I was thrilled to see this recipe! I can’t wait to try it myself, especially because you’ve made it look so fast and easy. Thanks!

  23. sfvegan

    I have so been missing mochi since becoming vegan, my fav little hidden sushi restaurant in SF only has them with red bean ice cream. I am so going to try these. Thanks!

  24. Laura

    Thank you a thousand times for posting this recipe! I have loved these sweet soft treats since I was a girl and despaired of finding any with the salty, crunchy peanut filling I remembered from a long-closed asian market near my childhood home.

    Now I can make a convincing (and delicious) facsimile myself — and I’m experimenting with natural colors for the dough. Saffron and hibiscus tea have been my starting points, with chunky peanut butter (salt and brown sugar added) or red bean paste and/or strawberries.

    Thank you thank you!


  25. erly

    I have made my own daifuku several times, my favorite is pineapple.

    I made my own bean paste from dried lima beans. This takes what seems forever, but shiro an, or white bean paste, is much more mild than anko. I like to add a little sugar and crushed pineapple to it before making the cakes. So good.

  26. Ksenia

    I love japanese culture and I love their food…but japanese ingredients are expensive and difficult to find here =( (there are only a couple of shops in barcelona, an hour by train from where I live) I have never seen there sweet rice flour, but adzuki beans are easier to find, so I think I will try to make anko and just put it over brown rice =)

  27. Kristine S

    I Loooooove Fresh Side. I used to go to school up there and would take the 45 min bus ride to Amherst all the time just to go there.

    Now, if only you could crack the code for the wheat flour wrap used in their rolls.

    And while I’m at it, why is it that different brands of cellophane noodles make for very different textures?

  28. jamjarkitten

    I made these today (with slightly cheating peanut butter filling); they are fab and so easy to make! Thank you for posting this – I’d never have thought I could make these otherwise!

  29. yummm

    Mine are super duper chewy, I’m not exactly sure why. The last picture up there is not the result of taking a bite out of one of these guys, instead it stretches a bit and deforms the bun. Do you think adding more flour or cooking for longer would fix this problem? In any case, they still taste good. Thanks for the recipe.

  30. DJ Karma (VegSpinz)

    I am lucky to live near one of the most famous mochi-making stores in CA. They make traditional mochi, as well as interesting flavors, like peanut butter filled (both smooth and crunchy)! They’re really good, too!

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  32. Priscilla

    After securing a source for the rice flour, I finally got to try these guys. They were super yummy. I tried to make them orange-colored, but they came out looking like raw chicken breasts. Oops!

    Now, on to a technical note, I had to add a lot of extra water to the dough. At least another 1/2 cup to get it to look like the pre-nuked consistency in the photograph. Anyone else have this issue?

    Oh and a shout-out to all you Happy Valleyers. Somehow in my time at Smith, I missed out on this Fresh Side place.

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  34. GMama

    Help! My bean paste is soupy! Will it thicken as it cools?

    Oh no! It doesn’t really thicken after cooling. Did you drain the beans well before starting? I’d cook it down a but until it is thicker. Sorry!

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