Mochi rice cakes are Japanese rice cakes which are made of rice, pounded into a paste and shaped into various sizes. They are sold in individual squares – dried sticks that look like a big leggo piece. You can also make mochi from mochiko rice flour, which is a very simple way to make fresh mochi at home.
Mochi is traditionally served during the New Year but today people eat mochi as a snack, accompanying noodles or as part of a dessert (mochi pieces on yogurt, ice cream or cakes).
Mochi can be made from brown rice combined with millet or other grains, but the most common is the white rice mochi.
It has some protein, fiber, iron and calcium, but as it is made from white rice, it is mainly a carbohydrate which your child needs as much as the other vitamins and minerals.
The brainfood element is more for the texture – it is crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and when you break it in half, the soft part stretches out like play-dough. It is an unusual combination, and I can’t think of a more fun snack around.
You can add vitamins and minerals with the kinds of dips you accompany the mochi. The dips are usually made of very simple combination of soy sauce and sugar. When you mix the two elements, it ends up a bit thick, and perfect for dipping. But you can add walnut oil, crushed walnuts or hemp meal for an added Omega-2, and shredded fresh basil, mint or shiso leaves for fiber, folate and vitamin C. You can also serve it with berries or stewed fruit.
This is a very basic mochi cooking technique with a simple dip. We will be exploring more variations on this basic theme.
Grilled Mochi Cakes
Serves 2 as a snack
4 mochi cakes
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1. Heat a grill mesh or a grill pan on medium heat.
2. Add the mochi cakes and let it cook/grill for a few minutes on each side – the sides will begin to swell and poof up like popcorn. Don’t burn it, but a golden color with some deep amber is great to ensure crunchy texture.
3. Take off heat and put on a serving plate.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the soy, sugar and flaxseeds. Divide into small dipping bowls and serve with the mochi. Grilled mochi can stiffen pretty quickly, so serve immediately.