We see them more and more on the menu in Asian or fusion (Asian-European) restaurants: mochi. In the Netherlands you will usually find them on the dessert menu, combined with scoops of ice cream in exciting flavors. But what exactly are mochi?
Mochi are a kind of Japanese cakes made of steamed glutinous rice, filled with all kinds of different ingredients. The balls look very nice because of their round shape and pastel colors and are popular as a dessert or snack in Japan.
The sticky rice, or sticky rice, is soaked overnight and then steamed. The warm and cooked rice is then ground flat in a large mortar, so that a kind of sticky and smooth dough is created. Balls are made from this, which can be filled with both sweet and savory fillings.
Mochi’s brother: dango
Good to know: mochi is not the same as dango, another rice ball snack. Rice flour is used for dango, which is mixed with cold water. Small balls are rolled from the resulting dough, which are then often strung on a skewer.
Dango may have about the same taste, so it is slightly different from mochi in terms of preparation and presentation. Do you still get it? And if you are not yet familiar with dango as a dish, you will undoubtedly know it from the emoji. That’s right: the one with the balls on the skewer
A versatile (New Year’s) snack
But hey, mochi. In Japan, mochi are traditionally eaten at New Year’s, just like we have our oliebollen. But actually they are made and eaten all year round and they are on the menu in all kinds of variants. With some soy sauce as a quick snack, or with a super sweet filling for dessert. Also, mochi are very often filled with ice. Can you imagine how wonderful that is in the summer?
One of the most famous fillings is the one with red (aduki) beans. But if you look at (online) tokos, you will soon come across a hundred and one other variants. From black sesame to matcha, coconut or durian: the neutral taste of the rice casing lends itself to many combinations.
Want to make your own mochi?
In many toko’s you can buy (sticky) rice flour, then you no longer have to beat yourself with mortar and you can, with the help of water, immediately form dough balls and boil or steam them. Basically the way it is done at dango, so. Do you want the real deal ? You can also buy ready-made mochi balls in most grocery stores. And then just fill & top!
Tip: don’t make it too difficult for yourself and start with a simple basic recipe. This chocolate-hazelnut spread mochi recipe requires only five ingredients – an ideal entry-level model if you ask us.