Glutinous rice balls in sweet soup

by Katherine Winton (’25) | February 3, 2023

Art by Katherine Winton (’25)

Coming from a culture where food is one of the most important aspects of community and family, I find comfort in Cantonese desserts. Growing up, I always had a sweet soup paired with glutinous rice balls, otherwise known as mochi. My family would sometimes buy a pack of frozen mochi and boil it in sweet soup, but it is never quite the same as having homemade mochi. Historically, many Hong Kong families were part of fishing villages, so their resources were very scarce. As such, there are not many ingredients in this dessert, making it fairly simple. 

The recipe is as follows:


1 liter water

1-2 Chinese dark brown sugar sticks (amount varies based on preference)

2-3 slices ginger (amount varies based on preference)


50 grams glutinous rice flour

50 milliliters water

Mochi Filling:

Brown sugar or red bean paste

Before you make the soup, you must first prepare the mochi balls. First, wash your hands and put the glutinous rice flour in a large glass bowl. While it is possible to make mochi with other types of flour, glutinous rice flour will give the balls the most authentic flavor and texture. Next, pour the water into the flour and mix it together with your hands until the dough is uniform. When the dough is ready, it should have a slightly sticky texture. Depending on the humidity of the area, you may need to pour a little more water into the dough for the right consistency.

Next, make the mochi balls. Pour some glutinous rice flour onto a plate so that when you place the mochi balls on it, they will not stick. If you are making the mochi without filling, divide the dough into even amounts and roll them into small balls (about the diameter of a quarter). Put the balls onto the flour-coated plate while you make the soup.

If you are making the mochi with filling, make evenly-sized small balls the same size as described previously. Then, use your finger to create a small hole and put a small spoon of your desired filling in the mochi ball, seal the dough, and reshape the ball. Warning: once the filling is inside, do not roll the dough too much, or the filling will mix with the dough and no longer be in the center of the ball. As you make each ball, place it onto the flour-coated plate.

Once you have finished making the mochi balls, it is time to make the sweet soup. Put the water, sugar stick(s), and ginger slices into a pot and place the mixture on high heat on a stove, stirring occasionally so that the sugar does not stick to the base of the pot. When the water is boiling and the sugar is dissolved, put the mochi balls into the boiling soup and wait until you see all of the balls floating in the soup. If the soup is ready to boil over the pot’s rim at any point, turn the heat of the stove down. After all the balls are floating, let the soup boil for another two minutes, then turn off the heat.

Serve and enjoy!

Categories: Food, Uncategorized

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