|Photos by Riki Altman|
Haven't met Mochi
yet? Well, it's probably time you did, since this Asian item seems to be quickly making its way into the vernacular of foodies around the States. It has shown up on dessert menus, stuffed with ice cream, at various sushi and Thai restos around town and was even spotted at the Tutti Fruitti
in Pinecrest as a topping for frozen yogurt.
But today, we'll investigate it in its simplest form, sans sugary accouterments, as a snack version offered by Grainaissance.
Whole Foods sells the stuff as a package found in its chilled bread
department. It's available in plain or cinnamon-raisin flavor and,
since the latter is so interesting, we'll give that one a go.
a warning -- you need a very, very sharp knife, or a chainsaw, to cut
through the supercondensed, doubly plastic-packaged, light-brown-colored brick of Mochi. Its rectangular shape
allows for about 16 pieces if deftly cut four-by-four. The stuff is made of "special" short grain sweet rice, filtered water, and sea salt, and you know what happens to rice when it is packed and chilled: Yep, it gets tough.
Once you divide it up, put a few slices in the oven for about ten minutes and -- woohoo! -- out comes a blob of a very strange-looking treat, golden brown on the edges, steaming wildly, and puffed up like a blister.
Resist the temptation to shove 'em right in your mouth, as this stuff is guaranteed to fry a palate or two. But as soon as you can rip off a hunk and handle it without screaming, try a chewy bite and judge. It's a brilliant combination of nutty, chewy, sweet, and dense. Totally satisfying and a wonderful replacement for a boring ol' slice of bread.
As to who should eat this? Anyone in need of a good jaw workout who realizes "chewy" is not just a Star Wars character.