Kirimochi by Daishin Shokuhin

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The warm, soft, stretchy tex­ture and sweet rice fla­vour of mochi is a favour­ite com­fort food. Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from a sticky type of rice called mochigome that’s been steamed and then poun­ded while hot. Pounding increases the vis­cos­ity of the mochigome, cre­at­ing a soft glu­tin­ous called mochi that is then sep­ar­ated into smal­ler pieces before the mass cools and hardens.

While mochi was tra­di­tion­ally poun­ded by two per­sons using a huge wooden mor­tar and mal­let, mochi can now be made at home using spe­cial machines, as well as pur­chased dried in rect­angles called kirimo­chi. Here, is Kirimochi by Daishin Shokuhin.

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Each piece of kirimo­chi is sealed individually.

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To turn kirimo­chi into the soft and stretchy mass we love, it just needs to be heated up. While it can be boiled, fried, grilled or deep fried, m favour­ite (and most con­veni­ent) meth­ods are to heat it up using 1) the microwave, 2) the oven, and 3) the waffle iron.

In the microwave

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The fast­est and easi­est way to pre­pare kirimo­chi is in the microwave. Wet the sur­face of the mochi, place it in a covered microwavable bowl and heat in a 1200W microwave for 20 seconds.

Wetting the mochi pre­vents it from stick­ing to the covered bowl. Alternatively, you can use a lay­er of bak­ing paper, sea­weed or kinako. Covering the bowl traps the heat and also guards against the mochi from explod­ing all over the inside of the microwave if you hap­pen to over­heat it.

The res­ult­ing mochi is soft and stretchy and does not have the crisp­ness of baked mochi.

Mochi does not have much fla­vour, so I dust with kinako and drizzle with kur­omitsu for a sweet nutty fla­vour. Kuromitsu can be swapped out by mix­ing sug­ar into the kinako before dust­ing. I use kur­omitsu for moisture.

Other days, I eat it with black ses­ame paste and kur­omitsu for a dif­fer­ent sweet nutty fla­vour. You can also try anko (red bean paste), but it doesn’t keep well in the fridge.

In the oven

A toast­er oven is anoth­er easy and fast meth­od of pre­par­ing kirimo­chi. Living in Australia, elec­tric wall ovens are more pop­u­lar and they take con­sid­er­ably longer to heat up than the small toast­er oven units that are pop­u­lar in Japan. Nonetheless, pre­par­ing kirimo­chi in the oven is second to none in achiev­ing a crispy surface.

Place the unwrapped kirimo­chi on a rack lined with bak­ing paper into an oven pre­heated to 180°C.

After 3 – 4 minutes, the kirimo­chi will expand to very organ­ic forms.

Once the kirimo­chi stops expand­ing after about 10 minutes, trans­fer to a plate dus­ted with kinako to avoid the kirimo­chi stick­ing to the plate.

Finally, I add top­pings of kur­omitsu and black ses­ame paste. Kirimochi from an oven is crispy on the out­side like sen­bei but soft and stretchy on the inside, mak­ing it one of the most deli­cious pre­par­a­tion methods.

In the waffle iron

Not own­ing a fast-heat­ing toast­er oven, though, moffles (mochi waffles) are the easi­est and fast­est way for pre­par­ing crispy mochi.

Wet the sur­face of the kirimo­chi and place it on a pre-heated waffle iron. Oil is unnecessary.

Keep it in the waffle iron for a few more minutes as its sur­face begins to soften.

Once the moffle has spread out of its ori­gin­al rect­an­gu­lar shape take it off the waffle iron at this point. For a crispy waffle, trans­fer the freshly made moffle on a wire rack imme­di­ately and avoid keep­ing it longer in the waffle iron as the exten­ded heat will cause the kirimo­chi to soften fur­ther and become very thin, los­ing the soft and stretchy tex­ture for the innards.

If you have a large waffle iron or like lar­ger waffles, more than one piece of kirimo­chi can be used each time. I prefer mine small, which gives more sur­face area for the crispy edges. That said, the crispi­ness is less addict­ive than when pre­pared in an oven as the mochi tends to soften from the steam if not eaten immediately.

My top­pings are the same regard­less of how I pre­pare the kirimo­chi, although I’m keen to try the kirimo­chi in homemade zenzai, a tra­di­tion­al Japanese dessert con­sist­ing of a thick sweet soup of boiled azuki beans.

This pack­age of Kirimochi by Daishin Shokuhin con­tained 1 kg. It was pro­duced in Japan and pur­chased in Sydney, Australia in 2016.