Japanese Pounded Rice Cakes - Mitoku Mochi
The hearty flavor and unique, chewy texture of Mochi have long made it a natural favorite in Japan. During the time of war in ancient Japan, samurai soldiers would use mochi as their primary diet because it was very strengthening, enhanced their endurance and curbed their appetite.
Uses: Bake or pan fry mochi and serve wrapped with nori, with a topping, sauce, spread, dip or in soup for a Japanese "O-zoni."
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Cooking with Mochi
Mochi is versatile and easy to cook. Once pounded, shaped, and dried until firm, mochi can be baked, broiled, grilled, pan-fried, or deep-fried. When prepared using any of these methods, mochi puffs up to nearly double its size, developing a crisp exterior and a soft, melting interior. If cooked too long, the surface will crack and the soft inside part will ooze out. So watch mochi carefully while it cooks.
Baked, broiled, or grilled mochi is often eaten with a sweet miso topping. Baked mochi can also be cut into bite-sized pieces and added to soups during the last minute of cooking. Pan- or deep-fried mochi needs nothing more than a light seasoning of soy sauce or a soy sauce and ginger-based dip. Mochi can also be rolled in rice syrup, then coated with walnut meal and eaten as dessert. Melt a couple pieces of mochi in a waffle iron, then top the delicious whole grain waffle with warmed rice syrup and chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts.
Soaking excessively dry mochi for several hours in cold water will cause it to soften. It can then be prepared in any way.
|Deep-Fried Mochi in Broth|
Deep-fried mochi is delicious when served with a dip or wrapped in toasted nori strips, but we like it best when it is served in broth.
2 cups Shiitake Dashi (see Shiitake recipes) or Kombu Stock (see Kombu recipes)
2 1/2-3 tablespoons Mitoku Johsen Shoyu
2 tablespoons Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
9 pieces Mitoku Brown Rice Mochi
1/3 cup finely grated daikon
Minced scallion for garnish
Combine the stock, shoyu, and mirin and simmer briefly. Keep hot (not boiling).
In a pot, heat 2 inches oil to 325°F (until a drop of flour-water batter sinks to bottom of the pot and immediately rises to the surface). Gently place mochi, 2-3 pieces at a time, into oil and fry, turning occasionally until the outside is crisp and golden. Drain on absorbent paper. Continue until all mochi is fried.
In individual serving bowls, place 2 pieces of mochi on the bottom and 1 piece on top to form a pyramid. Pour about ˝ cup hot broth over mochi, and top with 2 tablespoons grated daikon and a sprinkle of scallion.
Sweet Pecan Mochi
Sweet Pecan Mochi is a delicious and satisfying dessert, snack, or special breakfast treat.
1 cup pecan halves
1/8 teaspoon Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
8 pieces Mitoku Millet Mochi (2 x 2 1/2 inches)
1/3 cup Mitoku Brown Rice Malt
In a dry frying pan over medium heat, toast the pecans, stirring constantly until crisp and fragrant (3-5 minutes). Transfer pecans to a bowl or suribachi, and grind into a coarse meal. Add salt, toss well, and taste. Add more salt, if desired. Set aside.
Pan-fry the mochi (see Pan-fried Mochi recipe). When tender, dip each piece in rice malt to coat. (If malt is too thick, warm it until it flows easily.) Shake off excess malt, then roll pieces in generous amount of roasted pecan meal. Enjoy!
Mochi Soup (O-zoni)
Symbolizing longevity and wealth in Japan, mochi is traditionally included in the first meal of the New Year, usually in soup or stew.
8 cups Shiitake Dashi (see Shiitake recipes) or Kombu Stock (see Kombu Recipes)
1 package Mitoku Dried Burdock Root (reconstituted)
1 large carrot
1/2 teaspoon Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
8 fresh or Mitoku Dried Donko Shiitake caps, sliced
1 tablespoon Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
3 scallions, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths
4 Chinese cabbage leaves (or other tender greens), chopped
6 pieces Mitoku Brown Rice Mochi (2 x 2 1/2 inches)
1/4 - 1/3 cup Mitoku Sweet White Miso (to taste), or 2 tablespoons Mitoku Johsen Shoyu
Prepare stock. Cut carrot into julienne strips. Drain burdock and add to stock along with salt. Simmer 10-15 minutes, then add carrots and mushrooms. (If dried shiitake are used, they must be soaked and stemmed before slicing.) Simmer 10 minutes. Add mirin, scallions, and cabbage. Cook 5 minutes more.
While soup is cooking, cut the mochi squares into bite-sized pieces and place on lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F until slightly brown and puffy. (Check frequently to avoid overcooking.) Remove and set aside.
When cabbage is just tender, add mochi and shoyu (if using), and gently simmer 1 minute more. Dissolve miso in a little of the broth before adding it to soup. Let soup sit 1-2 minutes before serving.
1 teaspoon Mitoku Toasted Sesame Oil
6 pieces Mitoku Mochi (2 x 2 1/2 inches).
Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add mochi and cook, covered, over low heat until mochi bottoms are slightly browned (about 5 minutes). Flip mochi pieces, add 1 - 2 teaspoons water to create steam and to soften mochi, cover again, and cook a few minutes more. Remove cover as soon as mochi is cooked (to prevent mochi from melting).
Cooked mochi is often served with a shoyu and ginger-based dip. It can also be rolled in a mixture of equal parts shoyu and water, then wrapped in strips of toasted nori.