Saturday, February 16, 2013

Baked Crisp Mochi

my man's best friend lives in japan as an english as a second language teacher, and he married a lovely japanese lady, and had our adorable godson. skyler and his bestie spent many years loving all things japan - anime, food, etc. now when bestie comes to the states to visit, all he wants is american everything. however, skyler still loves all things japan and wants to go back and visit soooo badly (he got to go for about ten days when bestie got married several years ago). in the meantime, after leaving podunk, texas (which i love) and finding myself spending much time with people in the Air Force that got to travel and be stationed in japan and go often, and being surrounded by a plethora of japanese restaurants, i also developed quite a taste for the cuisine. you wouldn't believe how many asian restaurants of all kinds are in omaha, nebraska.

turns out, japanese food also can be very friendly for those of us who cannot tolerate gluten, especially traditional dessert treats. one of our very favorite traditional japanese treats is mochi. mochi is steamed and pounded sweet rice combined with water. it's either boiled, steamed, pan fried, or baked. it can be filled (usually with sweet red bean paste) or not, and it is wonderfully chewy. i've made it at home and it is very nice, and not at all difficult. it can be slightly time consuming though, and i rather like my food to be both real, whole, and convenient. typically mochi is made with mochiko, a very fine flour made of ground sweet white rice. it's lovely with a mild flavor, and i can use it to make a gluten free roux, mochi, or even very crisp and light fried chicken.

then i found Grainaissance and their lovely premade mochi. i came across it by accident and i am so glad i did. Grainaissance makes their mochi with brown rice, and it comes in several flavors. i bought the cinnamon raisin to sample and i've decided it will definitely be a staple - i loved how convenient, healthy, chewy, and delicious it was.

it comes in a block and can be found in the refrigerated section (it is perishable). i love that there wasn't any added sugar to this flavor, so i can control how sweet i want it. the sweet brown rice is naturally delicately sweet and has a lovely nutty flavor.

it only takes about ten minutes to bake up, and has a great chewy bottom and a big bubble cavity in which you can stuff stuff. i like this one with cream cheese, or butter and a little sugar. honey would be fabulous here! there are even savory flavors that would be great to base a light lunch around or serve along side soup or salad.
crisp on the outside and lovely chewy on the inside! i can hardly wait to try more flavors!

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