Kuzumochi on a ceramic plate topped with ground soybeans and brown sugar syrup

Kuzumochi (Arrowroot Starch Cakes)

Kuzumochi is a light and refreshing dessert made from kuzuko – starch made from Kudzu (Arrowroot) plants.  The roots are harvested by hand and dried before being ground into a fine powder.

Kuzumochi is a traditional Japanese dessert that dates back to the Edo period which began early in the 17th century. There are actually two types of kuzumochi – one type is made with kudzu (arrowroot) and the other made with kuzu, or fermented wheat starch.  The kuzumochi that I use is made from Japanese Arrowroot plants.  I was in Nara and had the opportunity to try kuzumochi made from Yamato Honkuzu.  Honkuzu in Nara is grown in the mountains of the Yamato region where it is gathered by hand.  People known as Yamakata dig up the roots by hand and then they are then collected and dried before being ground into kuzuko (kuzu powder).

Kuzuko is a natural thickener like cornstarch or potato starch, but it remains thick when hot unlike other thickening agents that break up in the presence of heat.  Kuzuko can be hardened and cut into noodles (kuzukiri) or served soft as in puddings and desserts.  Because water thickened with kuzuko has a light and airy texture and a neutral taste, it is a perfect ingredient used in Japanese sweets (Wagashi) and desserts like pudding and of course, kuzumochi.

Kuzumochi has a very light taste and it is enjoyed more for its texture than its taste. Kuzumochi can be dropped into ice water to form dumplings that can be served in sweet desserts, cut into noodles that can be added into a hot pot, or served soft where it can be used as a glaze for Wagashi or as a dessert.

When served as a dessert, it is traditionally served with Kinako and Kuromitsu.  Kinako is soybean flour which is made by grinding up soybeans and then roasting the powder.  Yellow soybeans are traditionally used in desserts and produce a yellow flour, of course.  These as a wonderful nutty taste to the dessert.  Kuromitsu translates to “black sweetener” and is a syrup made from brown sugar.  It’s often drizzled over kuzumochi to add a sweet taste.  When served this way, Kuromochi is a sweet and nutty dessert that people in Japan just love.

Give this recipe a try.  The ingredients are readily available though Amazon or at any Asian grocery store.  Let me k ow what you think in the comments section, below.

Kuzumochi (葛餅) - Arrowroot Starch Cakes

This traditional Japanese dessert is easy to make and uses just two ingredients- kuzuko and water.  The Kuzuko is gradually thickened in the water over low heat until it turns translucent.  It’s them formed into shapes and served up with kinako (ground and roasted soybeans) and kurumitsu (brown sugar syrup).  Airy, nutty and delightful, this traditional Japanese dessert will leave you wanting more.

45 minutes 7 minutes Serves 2
PREP 45 minutes
COOKING 7 minutes
YIELD Serves 2
Kuzumochi on a ceramic plate topped with ground soybeans and brown sugar syrup



  • Whisk the Kuzuko into the water until all lumps are removed.
  • Pour the mixture into a non-stick pan.
  • Heat over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and becomes white.Kuzuko and water mixture thickens and becomes white in a pan
  • Turn the heat down to low and cook for a few more minutes until the mixture becomes translucent and bubbly.

Kuzumochi is now translucent while being heated in a pan

  • Pour out into shallow containers and let cook for 30 minutes to room temperature.  Immerse the bottom of the containers in cold water if desired to help the kuzumochi harden faster.Kuzumochi in two shallow bowls sitting in a pan of water
  • You can serve the kuzumochi while it is still soft, or put in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to further harden, depending on your preference.

Kuzumochi on a ceramic plate topped with ground soybeans and brown sugar syrup

  • Top off with Kinako and Kuromitsu to taste.

Kuzumochi with Kinako and kuromitsu mixed in

  • Mix Kinako and Kuromitsu into the Kuzumochi for a gooey and delicious treat!


  • Kuzumochi can be kept refrigerated for up to three days, but I recommend you eat it fresh.  It will harden as it chills.


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