Delicious Mochi Rice Cakes

There’s always so much more to learn about Japanese sweets. I thought I knew what mochi was…but it turns out I had no idea. When I’m home in Vancouver, I occasionally buy prepackaged mochi rice cakes from a local Japanese grocery store. They come in partly dehydrated rectangle blocks so that they last a long time on the store shelves. Before serving, you just wet them with a bit of water and heat them in the microwave. Or, you can put them in the oven and grill them until they get all crunchy and toasted on the outside, and all soft on the inside. So, don’t get me wrong, these are really delicious! …But, it’s just that they are totally different from fresh, handmade mochi.

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While visiting a park in Japan, I came across an outdoor market and there was one tent where a lady was selling mochi and dango prepared that day. I treated myself to a package of mochi smothered in sweet red bean paste. It was incredibly soft and delicate, unlike the stretchy texture of the mochi that I am used to buying. And, since it had been pounded by hand, the mochi was uneven and still had little pieces of rice in it which gave it a lot more character.

I took some of the mochi home to use in oshiruko (a sweet soupy dessert). The mochi started to melt the second it touched the hot water, and I realized just how incredibly different it is from the packaged stuff. I feel so lucky to be finally able to see how these Japanese sweets were originally, before they started being replicated in big factories!

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13 thoughts on “Delicious Mochi Rice Cakes

    1. Me too! I didn’t try the mitarashi dango here, but I’ve definitely had plenty of dango while in Japan. I recently had the most amazing yaki dango ever!

      1. Hehe, I really they would invent teleportation already xD I think I’ve already left you a comment like that several times, but reading your blog and looking at the photos makes me wish that every time.

  1. ‘あん餅’ looks great with another Azuki lava! Mochi with a bit of rice grain is called ‘Tagane-mochi’ which is made from two types of rice. I actually like to eat just pounded mochi with grated Daikon with a bit of Soy sauce too.

    1. Oh, interesting! This is the first time I’ve heard of tagane mochi. Japanese cuisine is so complex and there are so many regional varieties that there is always more to learn! I’ve seen mame mochi and genmai mochi and I’ve been wanting to try both. I once had freshly pounded mugi mochi. I’m still not exactly sure what was in it, but it was some of the best mochi I’ve ever had. And, I love the idea of daikon oroshi and soy sauce! I often have mochi with soy sauce and nori, but I’ve never thought of serving it with daikon. I will definitely try it!

      1. Mugi mochi seems like to be made of Glutenous Barley. Sounds good but I never had it yet. You should try ‘Oroshi mochi’. It is highly recommendable!

      2. Glutenous barley! That makes sense. I knew that mugi was barley, but it always confused me because I imagined that if you tried to make mochi out of barley it would be very dry and grainy! But, the mugi mochi wasn’t like that at all. I didn’t know that there was a glutenous barley, though. I’ve never seen it again since, but I’d like to try it again sometime 🙂

      3. I didn’t know about glutenous barley either until you mentioned Mugi mochi. I don’t think it’s widely sold or even used. I’d love to eat Mugi mochi!

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