Here's why everyone's going mad for mochi.

Mochi has become one of the most aesthetically pleasing desserts in the world. It's the sweet and sticky ice cream that you will be seeing and hearing a lot about this summer, and for a good reason. If you're not already familiar with this Japanese treat, here's what it is and why it's going to be everywhere soon.

Credit: Allrecipes

What's Mochi?

Mochi (pronounced MOE-chee) is a Japanese dessert made of sweet glutinous rice flour or mochigome. Mochi dough is often tinted with green tea powder (matcha) or other food colorings and wrapped around a sweet center to form a small, bite-sized confection with a chewy, smooth, elastic texture. In its traditional form, this kind of Mochi is filled with sweet red bean paste, but in a more modernized version, pastel-colored mochi dough is wrapped around mini scoops of ice cream to make some of the prettiest frozen treats in town. Flavors include chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mango, coffee, green tea, and sweet lychee.

In traditional Japanese culture, mochi is considered a "food of the Gods" and a symbol of good fortune and happy marriages. One small piece of mochi is almost the equivalent of eating an entire bowl of rice, so in addition to being a treat, it was also used to provide much-needed sustenance. Mochi is often served as a central part of the Japanese New Year celebration and is used in religious rituals in the Shinto religion.

Where To Find Mochi?

Up to now, packaged mochi ice cream could be found in some market freezer sections (looking at you, Trader Joe's). However, what's all over food-lover's news feeds is what Whole Foods is doing with mochi ice cream. Behold the self-serve mochi ice cream bar: Lucky mochi ice cream aficionados in Chicago and Southern California can currently hit up their local Whole Foods for the full mochi bar experience. The rest of us are relegated to Trader Joe's, Asian specialty stores and restaurants, and some supermarkets. Or we can DIY.

How To Make Mochi at Home

Making Mochi at home is a fun and delicious feat. First, be sure to use the right kind of rice flour. Look for sweet rice flour, sometimes called sweet glutinous rice flour or glutinous rice flour. Despite its name, there's no gluten in glutinous rice flour.

Chef John has an excellent recipe for making mochi ice cream using a plastic-lined egg carton to mold the ice cream balls. So clever! It's vanilla ice cream wrapped up in homemade green tea mochi. The green tea's subtle bitterness works beautifully with the sweet vanilla ice cream.

More Mochi Ideas

Wrapping mochi dough around ice cream is only one way to enjoy Mochi. Try these other recipes, too:

a low angle, close-up view of a pile of mochi, in the foreground one mochi has been cut in half to reveal the red bean paste interior.
Credit: Dotdash Meredith Food Studios