Grilled Japanese mochi is probably one of the most rustic and traditional ways in which plain traditional mochi (or rice cakes) are enjoyed. They are chewy and soft with a delicious toasted flavor. It's great as a snack, side dish, appetizer, breakfast, or meal.
Fresh round mochi is grilled until puffed and toasty. The same result may be accomplished using "kiri mochi" which are shelf stable rice cakes that are dried and sold at Japanese and Asian markets individually sealed and packaged. After the mochi is grilled, the mochi may be added to savory ozoni style soup, which is a traditional dish served on Japanese New Year.
Traditionally, grilled mochi is enjoyed either with soy sauce sweetened with sugar and wrapped in dried seaweed (isobeyaki mochi) or with sweetened kinako soy bean powder (kinako mochi).
Gather the ingredients.
Using a griddle or grill pan, coat the surface with a nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high.
When the grill pan is ready, place mochi onto the grill and allow it to cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. It's ready when the mochi has puffed up a bit and has reached your desired color of "toasty-ness".
Add your choice of flavor to the mochi:
- Mix the soy sauce and sugar and drizzle it over the mochi, wrapping it in a strip of nori if you like. The sweetened soy sauce can be used as a dip, too.
- Sprinkle mochi with a sweet dried kinako powder.
- Top the mochi with some sweet red beans (anko).
Serve and enjoy.
Mochi, or rice cake, is extremely thick and chewy, so it is very important to take small bites of mochi and chew very well to avoid choking. It is a common hazard in Japan, despite the country's love of mochi.
- If you are using shelf-stable, packaged dried mochi (kiri mochi), you'll find the mochi will really puff-up. After allowing it to cool a moment, gently smash the puffed mochi with the palm of your hand or a spatula so that it is a manageable height to work with, and later eat!
- You can grill mochi in a toaster oven, just be sure to place mochi on a piece of foil, especially for fresh mochi. If you are grilling fresh mochi it tends to expand quickly after it puffs up and can make a downright mess in your toaster oven if you're not watchful.
- Anko is available pre-made in the refrigerated section of many Japanese and Asian markets, or in cans.
More Flavoring Options
The mochi flavors in the recipe are traditional but mochi can be enhanced with other interesting seasonings, such as:
- Ra-yu chili oil
- Togarashi red chili pepper
- Sweet miso