OMG! Mochi is everywhere! You may have encountered mochi as a covering for ice cream or on its own as a slightly sweet candy treat.
Not that long ago mochi was not a mainstream item, but now even your local Target may have a box of 6 mochi ice creams for $5.99. Amazon.com offers fruit flavored candy, filled mochi, mochi ice cream, and ice cream with mochi bits inside.
So what is mochi? Mochi is a Japanese rice cake. It is made from a short, grain rice which is glutinous and has a high starch content. The rice, mochigome, is then made into a paste which is used to make candy, cover ice cream, etc.
The best way to describe mochi is a really soft marshmallow texture. It is lightly sweet, also similar to a marshmallow. If a gummy bear and a marshmallow had a baby, it would be mochi. It is dusted in corn starch to keep the bits from sticking together.
I had my first mochi ice cream recently. I was eager to try it, so while at Fresh in Tyler, I saw a case of this much talked about (at least in my office) delicacy. I knocked down my husband and pushed a few small children out of the way. This was my moment. Fresh had 6 flavors from which to choose; I only remember vanilla, pistachio, mango and chocolate espresso. Each round serving was $1. Not knowing if I would like it, I purchased one mango and one chocolate espresso. Both were wonderful, however, if you wince at some textures, mochi may not be your thing,
The mango had mango ice cream covered in mango flavored mochi. My first bite made me want to gag. Not due to the flavor, but it was the skin like texture of the mochi. However, after a couple of bites, I was fine with it. The chocolate espresso was even better. It was coffee flavored ice cream covered in chocolate flavored mochi. I normally don’t like things that are chocolate flavored (I love chocolate, just not chocolate flavored foods). However, the combination was delicious and the chocolate mochi by itself was really good.
From nuts.com, I purchased a pound of rainbow mochi rice cakes. I wanted to share them with the folks at my office, since we have all talked about mochi so much.
Mochi buns are traditionally made as part of the Japanese new year’s celebration. Because the texture is chewy and sticky, it can present a choking hazard. Remember to only take small bites and to chew it well so that it doesn’t get caught in your throat.
It is recommended to store mochi in the refrigerator so that it does not harden.
There are also kits and mochi recipes available online. I may try to rollout some of the mochi candies and wrap a scoop of ice cream in them. It is time to experiment!
Have you tried mochi? If so, what did you think of it?