If my blog’s name didn’t tip you off, my favorite cuisine is definitely Japanese!
It was also my theme for last year’s VeganMoFo…so, yeah, I like it a lot!
I don’t just like Japanese food, I identify with it. It’s also in my blood!
I don’t consider myself a master of Japanese cooking methods by any stretch. I do, however, aspire to be an expert on Japanese food culture as it pertains to plant-based cooking. When I went to Natural Kitchen Cooking School, I learned some methods of macrobiotic cooking. Macrobiotic cooking and diets are products of Japan and its emphasis on healthy, seasonal dishes made entirely from scratch (for the most part).
I like macrobiotic cooking because it aims to heal the body through food and the preparation of food. For certain ailments, specific cooking methods are used and avoided in order to let the body rest and absorb as many nutrients as possible. I find that many of the principals behind macrobiotic cooking make complete sense to me and I try to abide by them as much as possible. There are some instances when I just must have vegan junk food, though. 😉
The recipe that I’ve included in this post is neither junk food nor is it the most healthful thing in the world. It’s mochi!
Mochi is a cake made from sweet rice flour, or mochiko. The cake is a simple mixture of rice flour and water that is cooked by steaming (or the microwave if you’re impatient like me!). The result is a soft, chewy and gummy texture. Eating mochi is almost like eating a slightly less sticky marshmallow that isn’t as sweet.
This recipe is very quick, but also quite messy!
The messiest part of making the mochi is rolling it into shape. I used tapioca starch to dust my cutting board and it literally went everywhere. I definitely don’t recommend you skipping that step, though. The mochi dough is quite sticky and hard to handle without the starch. You also have to handle the dough while it’s still warm so it doesn’t stiffen up too much.
Some mochi sweets are stuffed with red bean paste or other fillings. I have my recipe for red bean jam here if you’d like to try stuffing yours. I left mine alone since I wasn’t sure what the texture would be like. This was my first time making mochi!
Instead of filling it, I flavored my mochi dough with vanilla paste and rolled it in cinnamon and sugar (like a snickerdoodle!). I thoroughly enjoyed the subtle sweetness and warmth of the cinnamon. It brought depth to an otherwise bland food. Mochi is great for flavoring, though, because it takes on whatever you put into it. Try different extracts in your dough next time and different fillings if you wish.
You can really go all-out and make your mochi amazing! ^_^
Cinnamon Sugar Mochi
Yield: About 4-6 servings, depending on how large you make each piece
Adapted from: Daifuku Mochi by Hell Yeah It’s Vegan (great name, BTW!)
Free of: Gluten, Soy, Nuts
- 1 cup sweet rice flour
- 1/4 cup sugar (or sub dry sweetener of choice)
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- Tapioca/corn/potato starch for dusting
- Cinnamon/Sugar mixture, for garnish
- Mix all ingredients except the starch in a microwavable bowl using a plastic/rubber spatula. I used a plastic rice paddle to avoid sticking.
- Place the bowl in the microwave and cook in 1 minute increments, folding the dough after each time cooking. This will ensure a more even texture.
- Once the mixture is translucent and gummy, it is cooked.
- Dust a clean work surface with starch and a rolling pin.
- Roll your dough out to desired thickness.
- Using a round cutter/a rim of a round glass, cut rounds out of the mochi dough and smooth out with your hands (make sure to use starch if it’s sticky). Your dough should easily come together and not stick at this point.
- Once your mochi balls are formed, wet one of your fingers and dab the top of each one slightly.
- Coat the moistened side of each mochi with your cinnamon/sugar mixture.
- You’re done! Serve the mochi after they’ve had time to cool at least to room temperature. I served mine with green tea. Oishikatta! (It was delicious!) ^_^