Sunday morning dawned sleepy and soft golden pink.
We put the kettle on and decided to make it a mochi morning.
A few of you requested the mochi recipe from my new year post. I decided to document the process as we cooked, to share with you today.
However, you really should ignore every photo you see from here on. Because I neglected to engage my brain before cooking, and did everything bassackwards. Note to self: I’m glad you’ve decided to cut back on coffee, but it does actually help your head to work better in the early hours.
Mochi is a glutinous rice treat from Japan. I became acquainted with it in my early 20s, when I went strictly Macrobiotic for a few years. Mochi is short grain rice that is pounded until it becomes a sticky mass that will adhere itself to anything it comes into contact with.
It also puffs up to three times its size when baked and is deeeeelicious.
You can buy it in the store, where it comes in stupid plastic overpackaging and is way overpriced…
You may also know of it as the white rice thing stuffed with ice cream.
Mochi is a great alternative to muffins, and the toppings for it are endless. You can also mix in sweet or savory bits as you are pounding. Wait…I have to pound it? Yes you do, unless you have a kitchen aid. I have a kitchen aid. Last time she helped me, she ate her entire bowl of rice long before it ever made it into the oven.
So here’s how to make your own. I promise it’s not that hard, even though this last time I was a total dingbat.
You will need:
1 cup short grain sweet rice.
Steamer basket and muslin OR rice cooker OR a sauce pan
A medium or large pestle.
Heavy wooden bowl or large mortar
coffee or grain grinder
Sweet, short grain rice and a bitters bottle.
First, take your cup of rice and grind it in the coffee grinder. You are looking to at least break the grains in half. You don’t need to powder it. It should look like this:
Next, cook your rice. If using muslin and a steamer, do this:
Add water up to the bottom of the steamer basket. If using a cooker or sauce pan, add 2 cups water directly to your ric,e and cook for 40 minutes.
When done, it won’t look like this. See note above about forgetting to grind rice.
It should look much fluffier. Add it to the wooden bowl (or large mortar) and grab your pestle.
Pound for at least 10 minutes, and for as long as 20 minutes. You want to do this while it is still hot/ warm and you will notice that it starts getting pretty doughy fairly quickly. It will also get harder to pound. When it feels pretty stiff and glutinous, it’s good. About half way through, you can add other bits. We added mashed ‘naners and
burnt toasted almonds.
White rice mochi is typically “baby butt” smooth, and you can aim for that if you want. However, if you’re impatient and hungry like me, it’s fine if there are nubby bits of rice grain in your dough.
Make little flat balls of about 1 tablespoon worth of dough. Place them on an oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes.
They’ll look kinda like this before cooking, but less mushy. Since I didn’t grind the grain, I put it in the blender with a bit of water. But then I had watery mush. Guess what happens when you cook watery mush? You get warm, slightly puffy, watery mush. But Fern ate them all, so it wasn’t a total loss.
They will puff up and some, depending on the size, may ooze out at the side so that half is puffed and half is oozed. That’s normal. The smaller your balls, the better chance of full puffiness.
Take ’em out of the oven, slice open, add butter or earth balance and maple syrup. Or black bean soup and salsa. Or avocado and tomatoes. Or sesame seeds and oil and shredded carrot. Or chocolate sauce and ice cream. If it goes with rice, it’ll go with mochi.