Mochi - A Japanese confection, and also my addiction. Hey, I may climb mountains, but I also have a sweet tooth! Mochi are little rice cakes filled with ice cream and are the hidden gem of desserts. The traditional flavors are red bean and green tea. Most of the time restaurants also serve strawberry, mango, and chocolate. Sadly, most restaurant desserts don’t live up to the true mochi standard. So if you didn’t fall in love with the first brand you had, continue reading. There are better options.
In the modern day kitchen, mochi prepared using rice-flour, sugar, and water. If you’re attempting to make mochi at home, these three ingredients are the basis for the soft gummy like outside layer. This layer is then wrapped around a frozen scoop of ice cream.
It is a thrill to watch a master of mochi at work. Traditionally, mochi didn’t include ice cream. In fact, it was made from whole rice grain in a labor-intensive process. The process encompassed sprouting rice, roasting it, cooling it, and steaming it. Next it required mashing and flipping, at high speeds, in perfect coordination with a team. So, if you want to be all traditional, call your neighbors over, set up an assembly line, and take turns pounding steamed glutinous rice. You'll be at it for hours!
My dear friend and Pastry Chef, Lisa Graf-Mora, makes mochi like a pro. Her most popular flavor by far is vanilla mango. Chef Lisa uses homespun ice cream to fill her mochi. It is easily recognizable as homemade not only by texture and flavor, but the bright colors she achieves. The sugar fairy in all of us goes wild! The best news is she makes more than mochi. You can’t go wrong with a Lisa Graf-Mora dessert!
If you’re looking to get hooked for the first time, I suggest going to Whole Foods. Your eyes will be delighted at their mochi bar, located near the bakery section. Their flavors range from red velvet to blueberry. Don’t feel guilty. Grab one of each. (Plus, the more you buy the cheaper they are.) If you don’t have a Whole Foods near you, check out My/Mo mochi. It is available at many local stores.
I guarantee you’ll be surprised to learn what you’ve been missing! Sushi and mochi go hand in hand. Book a class, and I’ll make sure to bring the Mochi!