Mochi typically refers to a sweet Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutinous rice that is pounded into paste. It is particularly loved for its unique texture – which is soft, chewy and elastic and quickly melts in the mouth – inspiring the Japanese to coin expressions like ‘mochi mochi’, ‘mochitto’ and ‘mocchiri’ to describe the eating experience.
A recent consumer study conducted by Ingredion Japan found that over 90% of Japanese consumers, across all demographic groups, considered the texture as a fun eating experience. They also believe the additional chewing effort make them feel satisfied and makes the taste last longer.
Mochi’s popularity is quickly spreading beyond Japan, reflected by the 13% year-on-year increase in new mochi products launched between 2016 to 2018 in Asia-Pacific, according to Innova data. It is also rapidly gaining popularity in the West.
Keeping consumers excited
Ingredion developed N-DULGE 320 starch to help manufacturers in creating differentiated degrees of softness, chewiness and stretchiness.
“Other than creating the varieties of mochi texture that keep consumers excited, manufacturers often face the challenges of maintaining that soft and elastic texture, which is associated with fresh mochi, in shelf-stable food products,” said Eric Weisser, senior director, growth platforms, Ingredion APAC.
“Mochi bread, for example, often loses that chewy bite within three days. The bread also loses its nice puffy shape after baking.”
According to the ingredients specialist, N-DULGE 320 – a highly stabilised tapioca starch – delivers the distinctive mochi texture that can be extended up to five days, retaining its shape and slowing down the staling process.
Cooked tapioca starch becomes a clear gel, allowing it to provide a soft, elastic and stretchy texture to mochi applications. Its bland flavour is another benefit, along with its ability to improve functionality.
The starch provides consistent dough cohesiveness before baking. It also has excellent tolerance to shear, heat and various cooking conditions, and imparts volume expansion during baking. It also retains the shape of a baked good and prevents shrinkage. Moreover, it extends the mochi texture throughout the shelf life, slows down the staling process and provides stability to chilled and frozen foods.
N-DULGE 320 starch can be used in applications like mochi bread, mochi doughnut, dumpling/gyoza skin, mochi confectionery, mochi ice cream and noodles.