Okaki, are Japanese rice crackers which are frequently found for sale in the snack aisles of Japanese grocery stores. Rice crackers are essentially fried or baked dried mochi, or rice cakes, which are seasoned and then packaged for sale.
There's a misconception that this popular Japanese snack can only be purchased, but in reality, rice crackers can also be made at home!
- 4 small blocks kiri mochi (dried rice cakes sold in shelf stable packages; OR use fresh mochi if kiri mochi is not available)
- 2 inches of canola oil (for frying)
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Optional: Furikake (dried rice seasoning)
If you are using fresh mochi, roll out the mochi into a thin layer and slice into small strips or pieces. While large pieces of rice crackers may be made, we recommend working with smaller pieces first, to try making small bite-sized snack pieces.
Lay the mochi pieces on a flat tray and allow it to dry at room temperature in a cool and dry (very low humidity) place for 4 to 5 days. Be sure the temperature is not too hot as it will result in dried mochi that is overly cracked. It is also possible to hang dry the mochi strips.
In a small pot, heat canola oil to approximately 340 F.
Set up a plate lined with paper towels to drain the oil after the rice crackers (okaki) are cooked.
Deep fry the mochi pieces a few at a time so as not to crowd the pot. Each side of the mochi piece should only need to cook about 1 minute or less to brown. Be sure to turn over each piece and immediately remove when browned otherwise the pieces will quickly burn.
Drain on paper towels.
Season the rice crackers (okaki) with salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, try sprinkling Japanese furikake dried rice seasoning (sold at Japanese grocery stores in bottles or individual packages) for flavor. It is best if enjoyed immediately.
Rice crackers are simply mochi or rice cakes that are dried, to remove any moisture, and then fried. The recipe for these homemade rice crackers, or okaki, is simply seasoned with salt and pepper. However, Japanese furikake or dried rice seasoning may also be sprinkled on rice crackers that have just been fried. The key is to sprinkle seasoning over okaki that have just been pulled out of the oil so that the seasoning has a chance to stick to the rice crackers. Once the fried rice crackers, or okaki, have dried and cooled, the seasoning will not stick as well.