Mochi Basics

Mochi (pronounced: moh-chee) is a traditional Japanese food used in many snacks and desserts.  It’s a sticky, chewy, and soft carb made from glutinous rice.  I think of it as Asian dough because many Asian countries use something similar as the base for many important dishes (Chinese nian gao, Korean dduk, Indonesian palas, etc).  In Japan, it’s flavored with soy sauce, beans, leaves, fruit, or sugar to create some of Japan’s most popular items.  During New Years celebrations, kagami mochi (pronounced: cah-gah-me) is displayed and eaten as a symbol of good luck for the coming year.

Kagami Mochi (Source: Studio Tea)

You can make mochi from scratch, but for those thankful for the modern era like me, you can find mochi packaged at the supermarket in the rice aisle.  In Japan, it’s packaged in single-serving “blocks.”

Mochi from the Supermarket

Individual-sized mochi ready to be cooked!

Whenever I’ve tried this mochi, it’s been grilled and then put into a sweet azuki bean soup (aka red bean) or seasoned with soy sauce and wrapped with seaweed.   If you take a close look at the mochi, there are cuts on the surface.  When mochi is grilled, it puffs up like a marshmallow in the microwave (though not as quickly).  The cuts make room for the mochi to expand.

Packaged Mochi "Blocks"

If you can pass on some simple recipes, these would make a good omiyage as they are reasonably priced and have a long shelf life.  I foresee a great twist for a campfire grill out!


5 thoughts on “Mochi Basics

    • yay!!! how did you discover eating mochi with seaweed and soy sauce? do you eat it for breakfast like taro taught me? i’m not sure if that’s the correct way… haha

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