Delicious Hawaiian Coconut Custard Mochi

hawaiian coconut custard mochi

Hawaiian coconut custard mochi is incredibly easy to make (one bowl) and delicious to eat!  If you’ve never had mochi before, this recipe is a great place to start, but get ready because once you do, you’ll be asked to make it again and again. At least that’s what happened to me.  I’ve been making this recipe for the past 10 years! 

My Love of Mochi

I love mochi! I have tried many different varieties of it and haven’t met a mochi I didn’t like.  My first experience with this chewy treat was in Taipei, Taiwan. I had mochi filled with red bean paste (adzuki beans), and I thought it was great.  When I returned home, I found it at our local Asian food market. I shared some with my sister, and she discovered she too enjoyed eating mochi.  

I also tried mochi in Japan (where it originated), a yummy strawberry version, and one that is barbequed and basted with soy sauce.  It may sound strange, but it was good!

Then there is Hawaiian mochi. I didn’t actually eat this while in Hawaii, but on my very first visit to Maui, I purchased a Hawaiian cookbook filled with local recipes from each island.  I found a recipe for Hawaiian coconut mochi and have been making this for my family ever since.  It’s a requested favorite by one of my nephews who doesn’t even like sweets that much, but he loves this mochi!

mochiko and ingredients
I like to use the Koda Farms mochiko.

What is Mochi

So just what is mochi? It is a rice cake originating in Japan, made from rice flour. Mochiko, the sweet rice flour used to make mochi, is gluten-free. Because of this, it makes a great choice for people who have Celiac disease or those with gluten-free dietary needs. 

Traditionally, the rice flour was pounded by hand into a paste to create the mochi and then served at New Year’s celebrations. Today there are many different versions and flavors of mochi.  Each type of mochi has it’s own name, such as the photo below, which is an example of daifuku.  Daifuku is a round mochi stuffed with a sweet red bean paste. You’ve probably seen them in the store. This type of mochi is less dense than the Hawaiian coconut custard mochi.  

You may have even seen mochi ice cream at the grocery store or Costco. These are also quite different from coconut custard mochi, which is baked like a cake and then cut into squares. 

Daifuku mochi
Daifuku with red bean paste.

Recipe Tips

This coconut custard mochi recipe is so easy to make. It only requires one bowl to make, which I love!  However, make sure that you use a BIG bowl.  It needs to hold 32 liquid ounces plus over 56 ounces of dry ingredients.  So choose the biggest mixing bowl you have.  My KitchenAid mixing bowl is a 5-quart bowl, I also have a 4.5-quart one, but that would be too small for this recipe. 

After you’ve baked the coconut custard mochi, make sure to let it cool completely before cutting.  I recommend slicing into smaller squares as it is very dense and chewy, so it’s easier for people to eat in smaller portions. 

I find the Koda Farms mochiko in the Asian food section of my local grocery store. If you can’t find it there, you can look at your local Asian food market or purchase it online.

The sesame seeds are optional. I like to sprinkle half the coconut custard mochi with it and leave the other half without. That way, guests have a choice when eating it.

mochi batter

What it looks like before it’s baked.

baked coconut mochi
The pan of mochi after it's baked.

Hawaiian Coconut Custard Mochi Recipe

I make this every year for our Christmas & New Years celebrations. It is easy to make the day before and keeps for 3-5 days. Cover with plastic wrap and store in a cool place.

Hawaiian Coconut Custard Mochi

Delicious chewy coconut mochi! It's so easy to make too!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Coconut, Easy, Gluten-free, Mochi, Quick
Servings: 20 people

Equipment

  • Electric Mixer

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Butter (softened)
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • Water ~ 6oz (see instructions)
  • 1 (12 oz) can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 (13.66 oz) can Coconut Milk
  • 4 cups Mochiko (sweet rice flour)
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds (optional) to sprinkle on top

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  • Using an electric mixer (hand mixer or stand mixer is fine) beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs and beat until fully mixed with the butter and sugar.
  • Add water to the can of coconut milk to equal 2 cups. (I pour the can of coconut milk into a 2 cup measuring cup and then add water to the 2 cup line.)
  • Add 4 ounces of water to the 12 oz can of evaporated milk to make a total of 2 cups.
  • Put all of the milk and water mixture, mochiko flour, baking powder, and vanilla into the creamed egg mixture. Mix well.
  • Pour the batter into the greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top (if desired). Bake at 350° for 1 hour.
  • Cool completely before cutting the mochi into squares for serving.

Notes

I empty my can of coconut into a 2-cup pyrex measuring cup and then I fill the empty can up with water so it gets more of the coconut flavor. I use this can of water to add to the 2-cup measuring cup with coconut to create 2-cups total.  I also use the can of water to add to the 12 ounces of evaporated milk to create a total of 2-cups there as well.  It's not necessary to do this, but I like to think I'm getting all the coconut goodness from the emptied can.
You can always sprinkle half of the pan with sesame seeds and leave the other half without for those that prefer no sesame seeds.

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