Friday, June 5, 2009
Mochi: Product review & recipe
While trolling my local health food store, Hampton Natural Foods, for new and different GF, sugar free, tree nut and peanut free yummy stuff, I came upon Raisin-Cinnamon Mochi in the GF frozen section. I was a bit skeptical, as it looks like a 1/2" flat square...and not all that appetizing. I remember reading something positive about mochi somewhere online and also hearing about it on our recent trip to Hawaii, so I thought I'd give it a try...boy am I glad I did!
First thing's first - what is mochi? It's a traditional Japanese sweet brown rice snack eaten by Japanese farmers that want to increase their stamina and have lasting energy. The rice is pounded flat and allowed to cure and harden. It becomes soft again when you cook it.
The first time I made it, I cooked it according to the package directions - cut into 1 - 2" squares (being straight from the freezer, this part was challenging) and baked it at 450 for 8 minutes (I used my toaster oven which bakes faster, so I dropped the heat to 425). I didn't think it would puff up, but it did. It was crispy on the outside, somewhat hollow on the inside, and chewy at the same time - I'm kind of a texture person, and I liked this different texture. It also had a pleasant flavor. It did stick to the foil I noticed, but when it cooled, it came right up. I thought "kinda cool." But then I made it again...
Last night, I wanted a sweet treat. Being that I'm still in the challenge phase, it could not be too sweet. I remembered the mochi and recipe idea on the back for cinammon rolls. This time, I let it defrost first, then cut it into squares and baked it. It puffed up even more and didn't stick. As soon as it came out, I topped it with a little bit of cream cheese (non-dairy would be fine) and a dot of Agave (you could use honey or maple syrup, too). OH MAN! Mochi reached a whole other level - it tasted just like a cinnamon roll. Absolutely delicious...warm, crispy, gooey, sweet...YUM!
Here's the allergen rundown: mochi is wheat free, gluten free, and dairy free. The flavor I tried had no sugar, just sweetened w/ a bit of raisin. Grainaissance, the makers of the mochi I tried, does use peanuts and tree nuts in some of their products and the package contains that warning. They are kosher, they never use animal products, and the rice is whole-grain - not milled. Other flavors are available but check the ingredients label for each as they vary (for example, the chocolate brownie mochi contains walnuts). They recommend putting the savvory flavors in soup like dumplings...I bet that would be great!
A surprisingly delicious discovery that you don't need to feel guilty about...