mmmmm . . . Mochi …Plain white mochi is a Japanese New Year staple. Mochi is simply steamed glutinous rice that is pound into a very sticky paste and shaped into circular or rectangular shapes. Although mochi can be sweetened and enjoyed as a dessert as well, during the new year festivities, it’s usually left plain so it can be used in various dishes such as ozoni, which is a traditional soup.
Mochi can be enjoyed boiled, broiled, pan fried, toasted and even deep fried! But, for the average household like mine, the simplest form is usually the most enjoyed. In our home, my kids like isobeyaki. That’s mochi, pan fried with a bit of oil on low heat. The outside is browned to a nice crunch while the inside is soft and chewy. It’s then dipped in soy sauce and quickly wrapped with a crisp black yaki nori , for extra texture and flavor. mmm…the unusual combination of crispy, crunchy and chewy, combined with simple flavors of just rice, soy sauce and nori make it a comfort food for us Japanese. I wonder if it’s just a Japanese thing, because my British husband has absolutely no interest in mochi and says it’s like eating chewing gum. Personally, I don’t see the similarities…but to each his own I guess. Here are simple instructions to make make mochi – isobeyaki style.
Mochi – Isobeyaki Style
- plain mochi cakes
- oil for pan frying – I use virgin olive oil and it tastes fine
- soy sauce
- yaki nori
- heat the pan on medium and add the oil
- Place mochi in pan and fry. Lower the heat and cover.
- Mochi is usually quite thick so even though the outside may be cooked, the inside may still be very hard, so make sure you cook it all the way through. The mochi will begin to soften.
- Now, flip and pan fry the other side until it is brown and crisp, adding a little more oil if necessary
- Pour soy sauce into a bowl and dip the mochi in the sauce to coat both sides.
- Wrap with a generous size of yaki nori and enjoy! Oishii yo!
Below are photos of the process. The type of mochi that I bought at the local Japanese supermarket is called Kiri Mochi because it has little cuts in the mochi so it cooks faster. Place it in the pan, fry until done, dip in soy and wrap with nori.