Mochi is a specialty from Japan that is currently experiencing a total hype. We know what the rice cakes are all about and reveal how you can cook them at home.
Found this recipe but never heard of mochis until recently? Don’t worry, you are not alone. A few years ago, the delicacies from Japan were still completely unknown in this country. Mochis are rice cakes made from Japanese sticky rice that can be both sweet and savory. But the structure is always the same: a shell made of a thin layer of mochi mass stretches around a filling. Whole strawberries or a sweet paste made from adzuki beans are popular as such.
Traditionally, the specialty is eaten in Japan on New Year’s Day. Mochi are made in a ceremony called Mochitsuki in Japan. The main thing is that people come together, work and then celebrate.
Japanese mochi recipe
Ingredients (for 20 pieces)
- 500 g glutinous rice flour
- 500 g potato starch
- 400 g anko (sweet red adzuki bean paste)
- 250 grams of sugar
- 900ml of water
- Mix the glutinous rice flour with the sugar. Then add water and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Cover mixture with cling film and heat in a microwave at 1000 watts for 1.5 minutes. Be careful not to over-tighten the cling film at the edges.
- Then stir the mixture, add some water and heat for another 1.5 minutes. Take out again, stir, cover again and heat again for a minute. The dough should now be almost transparent in color. If this is not the case, it should be slightly moistened again and put in the microwave for another 30 seconds.
- Dust the baking paper generously with cornstarch and place the dough on top. As soon as the dough has cooled, flatten it out with your hands, spreading cornflour over it from time to time so that the dough does not stick. Then roll out the dough with a rolling pin so that it is about 5 mm thick. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
- Place the dough back on the work surface, then cut out 20 circles with a 3-inch cookie cutter. A large glass can be used for this. Then remove each mochi circle, remove the excess cornstarch and put aside on some cling film.
- Take one of the circles and place some adzuki bean paste in the middle. Then pinch two opposite sides together firmly in the middle. Then press the other two sides together in the middle. Dust the mochi with a little cornstarch on all sides. Enjoy your meal!
Variant: Recipe for mochi ice cream
Another variant of Mochis, which is probably better known in Germany, is Mochi ice cream. The recipe for this version of the specialty is not very different from that used to make “regular” mochis. Instead of adzuki bean paste, simply wrap ice cream balls of your choice in the batter.
“Sanpuru” – the Japanese hype about food made of plastic
In the land of the rising sun, “Sanpuru” have become indispensable. The word means “tasting” and describes dishes made of wax, plastic or silicone. These can hardly be distinguished from the original.
Making fake food has become a veritable art form in Japan. Each dish is made by hand. In Tokyo’s Kappabashi district in particular, there are countless companies that produce dishes from plastic and wax, writes the international news portal Global Voices .
The million dollar business with the fake food Sanpuru
Sanpuru has now become a million-dollar business. The business is said to be worth $90 million, and only within Japan’s borders, writes the British Guardian . The fake dishes are not exactly cheap and a sanpuru can cost about ten times as much as the edible version of the dish.
How are sanpuru formed?
In order to make sanpuru, a type of plaster mold must first be made. To do this, the real dish is often frozen and used for the mold. The molds are then fired and then colored and painted. Fake food artist Sayuri shares how painting is the most important part of making food in this Culture Trip video . Finally, the dishes are glazed to look fresh and irresistible. Small dishes can be made in a day, for more elaborate dishes the process can take a whole week.The history of Sanpuru began 90 years ago with the Japanese Takizo Iwasaki. Legend has it that the man imitated an omelette with candle wax so well that his wife couldn’t tell it from a real one. Iwasaki later established itself as the largest sanpuru manufacturer in Japan. Because in 1930, when Iwasaki developed his idea, color photography did not yet exist and so restaurants had to resort to this expensive variant if they wanted to show guests their dishes.
The breakthrough for Sanpuru came in World War II
It was World War II that really got the business off the ground. During this time, many US soldiers were stationed in Japan. Unable to decipher restaurant menus, they were particularly grateful for the plastic dishes whose ingredients were easily recognizable.
During a trip to Japan , tourists can also practice the art by themselves and make their own sanpuru. If you want, you can also buy mobile phone cases with fake fish or noodles on site or take whole bowls of ramen home with you.