When people in the United States hear "mochi," they think ice cream. But in Japan grilled mochi, or yakimochi, is huge. Chewy, soft, and toasty, grilled mochi isn’t your ordinary rice cake.

Short-grain glutinous rice that is pounded into paste and molded into a shape, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year. In fact, it has been around for thousands of years. In the past, mochi was eaten only by royalty and nobles, because it meant good fortune. It also belonged to the gods in Japanese culture, serving as a religious offering. In modern times mochi has become simply a seasonal specialty.

You don't need to be Japanese to enjoy mochi. It’s a healthy vegetarian- and vegan-friendly snack that makes a great appetizer.

Mochi's Health Benefits

Mochi might not seem healthy, but it is. You can easily grill mochi and combine it with seaweed. This adds a ton of nutritional benefits. Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, mochi–seaweed combo is also a great source of:

• Vitamins A, C, E, and K

• Niacin

• Pantothenic acid

• Phosphorus

• Riboflavin

• Folate

• Calcium

• Iron

• Magnesium

• Copper

• Manganese

Grilled Mochi Recipes

Healthy and vegan-friendly, these ways of serving grilled mochi are also yummy.

1. Grilled Japanese Rice Cake

Time: 10 minutes

After you grill your mochi, you can add it to savory ozoni style soup, enjoy it as a dessert, or serve it with sweet red beans.

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces fresh or packaged mochi
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Flavoring options

  • Soy sauce
  • white sugar
  • Kinako (dried roasted soy bean powder)
  • Dried seaweed
  • Sweet red bean

Directions

Coat a griddle pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. When the grill is ready, place the mochi on the grill and allow it to cook for 10 minutes. You'll be able to tell when the mochi is ready: It'll puff up a bit and be slightly toasted. Remove from the grill, and add your choice of flavoring.

2. Grilled Norimaki Mochi

Time: 15 minutes

This recipe is grilled rice cake with sweet soy sauce that's wrapped in seaweed. It makes a unique, healthy treat!

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces fresh mochi
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • 2 pieces seasoned nori.

Directions

Coat a heated griddle pan with nonstick cooking spray. Grill mochi over medium heat for 10 minutes or until it begins to puff up. Remove from heat. Prepare the sauce by mixing soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl and then heat in a microwave until the sugar dissolves. Coat the grilled mochi with the sauce and wrap in a piece of nori. Serve.

3. Grilled Tofu Mochi

Time: 15 minutes

This grilled mochi recipe uses tofu, which adds protein and changes the texture. The result is a denser, chewier snack.

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz. box of Blue Star Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour
  • 19 oz. firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon kinako (roasted soy bean flour)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the mochiko and tofu, kneading the ingredients together to create a soft dough. Add two tablespoons of water as needed. Make small teaspoon size balls and flatten. Then coat a griddle pan with non-stick spray and heat to medium-heat. Place the mochi on the grill for 8 to 10 minutes until it starts to puff up and become golden. In a small bowl combine the kinako and sugar. Serve with sweetened kinako powder.

4. Grilled Matcha Mochi Bars

Time: 15 minutes

These sweet grilled matcha mochi bars are made with green tea powder.

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 16 oz. box Mochiko sweet rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons matcha powder
  • canola oil cooking spray
  • Powdered sugar

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together coconut milk, water, vanilla extract, and sugar. Using a hand mixer, mix until sugar is well incorporated. Add the baking powder, then slowly add the rice flour a half-cup at a time. You'll notice the batter thicken. Finally, add the matcha powder and blend until well incorporated. Heat a griddle pan and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Form small balls and place over medium heat, cooking until puffed up (about 10 minutes). Serve with powdered sugar.

5. Grilled Mochi Skewers

Time: 15 minutes

These grilled mochi skewers are dipped in caramel sauce.

Ingredients

  • Frozen mochi
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce

Directions

In a small saucepan toast the sesame seeds over low heat and set them aside. Then heat a griddle pan on medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Place the mochi on it and grill for 10 minutes or until the mochi puffs up. Turn them after five minutes. After cooking, insert a skewer, and serve with the caramel sauce. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.

References

  1. "Easy Japanese Dessert: Grilled Mochi Skewers," She Knows, May 22, 2014.
  2. "How to Enjoy Japanese Mochi," Just One Cookbook, January 19, 2015.
  3. "Variations of Mochi Recipe," Japanese Cooking 101, December 31, 2015.
  4. "Yakimochi (Grilled Mochi Rice Cakes)," Spontaneous Tomato, January 30, 2014.

cooking | Japan | rice cakes | yakimochi | vegetarian | snack