The hearty flavour and unique, chewy texture of mochi has made it a natural favourite in Japan. When cooked, these ‘cakes’ soften and puff up becoming delectably moist and chewy. Simply pan fry in a lightly oiled, covered pan over medium-low heat, turning once. Serve with dips or fillings of your choice, sweet or savoury. Our favourite is a tamari and maple syrup dip but see below for more recipe suggestions.
- Gluten Free
- 100% wholegrain
- Low fat
- Ready to eat in 8 min
Mochi is made from a short grain japonica glutinous brown rice which has been steamed, pounded into a paste and shaped into blocks and dried. The best mochi has a perfect balance between viscosity and elasticity but this requires exceptional skills as it is especially difficult to perfect when using brown rice.
In Japan mochi is traditionally made from whole rice in a labour intensive ceremony called mochitsuki. While now enjoyed all year-round, mochi is a traditional food specially prepared and eaten during New Years celebrations in Japan. After the polished glutinous rice is soaked overnight and steamed it is pounded with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu). Two people will alternate the work, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi. They must keep a steady rhythm to prevent injuring each other with the heavy kine. The sticky mass is then formed into cubes and dried.
How to cook Mochi
Mochi is supremely versatile, easy to cook and generally served as the main ingredient of a meal. Traditionally, it is included in the first meal of the Japanese New Year, usually in soup or stew, as it symbolises longevity and wealth.
It can be oven baked, grilled, pan-fried, deep-fried, or even boiled.
To oven-bake, cut mochi into 1-1.5” squares and bake in a pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes. They will puff up and when done are brown and crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. If cooked too long, the surface cracks and the soft part inside oozes out. So, while cooking, watch carefully! Serve with dips or fillings of your choice such as tamari and maple syrup for a delicious sweet snack. Also great wrapped in toasted nori with a tamari & ginger dip or cut into bite sized pieces and add to soups or stews just before serving as crispy croutons.
Naturally filling and slightly sweet, this gluten free, low fat nugget of glutinous rice is also great on its own as a snack. For the ultimate quick and easy snack, shallow fry a couple of pieces of mochi, then roll the hot and squidgy rectangles in toasted nori smeared with grated ginger, tamari, tekka and wasabi... Heaven and whole grain!
A match box sized piece of mochi has the same calorific value as a small bowl of rice. For this reason it is popular with Japanese farmers who often eat mochi on cold winter days to increase their stamina while samurai took mochi onto the battlefield because it was easy to carry, easy to prepare and a great source of energy.