A while back I bought two kinds of Grainaissance’s organic brown rice mochi at Community Market; Whole Foods also sells them. These mochi cakes are naturally gluten and dairy-free, which made me doubly intrigued, and since they are whole grain brown rice flour-based, the cakes have many more nutrients than most mochi manju, which are made with white glutenous rice flour (does not actually contain gluten). In each package comes a single rectangular block of hardened mochi dough with the flavorings already mixed in. The block may look small for the eight servings listed on the back, but the dough expands up to two times it’s original size while it cooks! Grainaissance makes eight tasty looking cook-and-slice kinds of organic brown rice mochi in sweet and savory flavors, including original, which contains only rice and water. There are so may great options to choose from, but I’m eager to try out the sesame-garlic when I go buy more.

chocolate mochi puffs

First, I tried the Chocolate Brownie Mochi, apparently their most popular flavor. It was a nice rich dark brown color and a really nice dark chocolate aroma. I cheated and tasted the dough as I was cutting it; it tasted really good even then. Just keep in mind that brown rice has a rich flavor all its own, so the flavor actually turned out rather subtle. Although sugar (evaporated cane crystals) is listed in the ingredients, the mochi dough in not as sweet or chocolaty as I exected. The package suggests possibly drizzling a sauce on top, which would add more flavor, sweetness and moisture. For umph, you can also brush some sauce on top of the squares with a pastry brush.

The directions say to cut the brownies into one to two-inch squares before baking them. I am so glad I chose to cut them into a one square-inch size in order to make 16 servings instead; the mochi cake expanded so much, two inches would have been way to big. I recommend scarfing on the brownies as soon as they are cool enough to handle. The mochi pieces are best when they are warm. Unfortunately, I should have only cooked half. I ended up only eating one or two squares at a time and took my time eating them.  I ended leaving a bunch out to snack on, so I’d have more time to savor them. This wasn’t the best idea, as I found out that they get rather dry as they cool. Thank goodness it was still kind of soft on the inside and still edible.

To help them retain some moisture, I stored the rest of the batch in an airtight glass jar when they were still a bit warm. Well, the evaporated water formed into condensation on the inside of the glass and was reabsorbed by the brownies over time, maybe within a couple of hours. When I reopened the jar to have some pieces on the next day, the mochi was extremely chewy and kind of tough, so they felt stale but still tasted fine. I recommend definitely making these in batches, only cooking as much as you are willing to eat in one sitting. This way they have a better texture, are easier to eat and are still nice and warm.

Maybe reducing the temperature from the direction’s 450 degrees F and increasing the cooking time a bit would help retain some moisture; Becky at Snackrobiotic cooked them at 400 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes instead. I’ll have to try that with my next batch. I’m sure you can cook the mochi another way instead, but I’m not sure how the batch will turn out. Mochi that is cooked dry or with oil (grilled, baked or broiled) has a completely different texture, soft inside but slightly crispy outside, holding less moisture like mine turned out. I have also read suggestions for putting mochi cakes in sweet or savory soups, which I’ll have to try. Have you tried any of these soups before? At Nijiya Market in Japantown, I saw packages of white mochi cakes and wondered what they were for…. This is the type of kirimochi or kakumochi those websites were talking about. I love learning new cooking techniques and dishes!

The second batch to cook is Super Seed Mochi, which means I have more flavor options to make sweet or savory snacks. I think I’ll make a sauce to ladle over the top or make a dip to dunk the pieces into. Oh! Here’s an idea! Mochi waffles! (They are also known as moffles.)  Cut the mochi cake up into one-inch pieces, and cooked them in a waffle iron. The squares will pool together as they cook, creating a perfect food shape to spread nut butter, fruit puree or sauce onto. Any of the Grainaissance mochi flavors would be great to make waffles with. You can make sweet or savory ones; you can eat them as a flat-ish round with a knife and fork  or roll them up to make crepe or sandwich wrap-like dishes. You can also make mochi waffles with white rice mochi dough, too, but it’s not as flavorful or nutritious as brown brown rice mochi. I have also seen the moffle sandwiches, mochi waffles made into large enclosed sandwich-type waffle tarts. You can also cook soft mochi dough into moffles, too, in a waffle maker. Moffles have become so popular in Japan, that a couple companies actually make moffle makers; see the video below. They are kind of ridiculous.

The Grainaissance website states that the mochi can be stuffed with your favorite filling, which I hadn’t considered before. You have to slice and stuff them as soon as they are still warm but cool enough to handle. You don’t have to make little sandwiches, like in the picture to the right; you can stuff them with chopped nuts, vegetables or fruit, cashew cream, preserves, cheese, or whatever you like. Grainaissance also posted recipes, flavor combinations and techniques for preparing filled mochi. If you want, you can also e-mail the company with your address, and they will send you a recipe booklet.

There are other companies that make mochi cakes like this, too, like Eden and Mitoku. There are several other Japanese companies that make kirimochi that you can also use; just cut it up and prepare it like the brown rice mochi cakes. Although called other names, there are similar versions of the Japanese rice cakes that are made in China and Korea, so there may be some Asian markets that sell pre-made mochi-like cakes or dumplings that are made by Chinese and Korean companies, too. Here is Ahisma’s recipe over at “Like Mama Said” to make your own sugar-free mochi cake! It suggests that you divide the steamed rice in half in order to make two different dough flavors.  I will definitely have to try this. The mochi recipe is rather simple and very adjustable, so that you can make your own flavors.

Have fun making and enjoying your mochi creations. Which ingredients do you like use to make mochi? Which types of mochi have you tried? Which flavors do you like best?