Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dirty Little Secrets...

Mochi is a Japanese sticky and chewy sort of rice dough, with a mild flavor. It is basically soaked, steamed sweet rice that has been pounded with a mallet, into a smooth mass, and formed into little “cakes”. It is best eaten fresh, but can be air-dried or frozen for later use. Mochi making traditionally takes place before the Lunar New Year, and the mochi is made into an ancient New Year’s decoration. However, mochi is becoming so popular today that it’s made in many parts of the world, all year round. It can range from being shaped into a simple bun, to complex designs decorated with fruits or flowers, which is the most common form when being exchanged as a gift. Mochi is eaten as both a sweet and savory food. The flavor is so mild that it can almost be eaten with anything. When consumed in its soft form, it is commonly combined with shredded daikon (Japanese white radish) and seasoned with soy sauce and lemon. As a confection, mochi can be eaten with a sweet condiment like kinako (roasted soy bean “flour” mixed with sugar), or flavored with a myriad of sweetened seasonings. In another form, mochi cakes are filled with sweetened red bean paste, or other ingredients. Sometimes the air-dried mochi is roasted over a brazier before being added to soups, or dipped in a mixture of soy sauce and sugar. Mochi can be eaten in so many forms, it is almost impossible to list them all. It can be grilled, dipped, stuffed with pickled vegetables, or just about any other method one can think of. In many parts of the world, mochi ice cream has become hugely popular, and can even be found in major grocery stores. For this frozen treat, the mochi is filled with ice cream, such flavors as green tea, strawberry, and mango. It is then dusted with sweet rice flour. Each piece is about the size of a golf ball, but the sizes do vary. Mochi can be used in endless ways, and is filling, making foods with mochi a great snack for the budget traveler. It is also relatively easy to make at home, so try out the below recipe, and find your favorite way to eat it! Just be careful, mochi can be so sticky that some people joke about it being a choking hazard!


1 cup mochiko sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour)

1 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

Katakuriko, for dusting (potato starch)


• Mix mochiko and sugar in a bowl.

• Add water and mix thoroughly (Will be watery).

• Put in a microwaveable dish. Cover with plastic wrap.

• Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Take off plastic wrap. Cool for a few minutes, if you want. Cut. Serve.

• Opt. Dust with katakuriko or kinako to prevent mochi from sticking everywhere. If you don't have these, you can just put the mochi on cellophane.

Variations for Filling: You can add red bean paste, ice cream, chocolate, etc. in the middle if you want BEFORE you dust. add a teaspoon of filling and pinch edges closed.

Variations for Dough: Add a few drops of food coloring into batter for color variation. A few drops of flavoring (strawberry, grape, orange, blueberry, etc.) may also be added. >> For chocolate flavor, stir about 1/4 cup melted chocolate chips into mochi batter before cooking.

*Photo from

*Recipe from

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