Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mochi Madness

I've seen the hard brown squares of packaged mochi in the food cooler at Wild Oats, but until now, I had no idea what to do with it. I wasn't even sure what it was. But thanks to Judy Brown's "Guide to Natural Foods Cooking," I've discovered the wonders of this glutinous brown rice cake. My first mochi experiment — Judy Brown's Mochi Vegetable Melt:

It may not look so appetizing, but trust me on this one. See that melty looking cheese-like substance in the right side of the picture. That's melted mochi, glutinous rice that's been pounded into a paste and molded into shape. That may not sound appetizing either, but it's delicious!

Melted mochi has a texture that's somewhere between melted mozzerella and sticky sushi rice. The original flavor, which I used for this melt recipe, has the slightest hint of sweetness, but not at all overpowering ... a nice compliment to the saltiness of the soy sauce used to season this dish.

For this recipe, saute your veggies (I used kale, cabbage, carrots, red onion, and mushrooms) and then place squares of mochi on top. Cover for about 10 minutes while the mochi melts over the veggies. In the end, I tossed in tofu that I'd sauteed separately.

According to the package, you can also bake mochi. I think it puffs up and the outside becomes crispy while the inside gets soft and gooey. I'm going to try this later with the remainder of my mochi.

By the way, Judy Brown's book is freakin' awesome. I picked it up at a Goodwill in Nashville for 75 cents. I always peruse the cookbook sections in thrift stores, hoping against hope that there will be a vegan cookbook lurking on the shelf...and then sure enough, this time my shelf-scouring paid off. The book was published in 1989 (can you believe it's vegan and that old?!) by the Book Publishing Company on the Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. It's currently out of stock on Amazon but you can place an back order.

On a different note, several of you have asked about being a tester for my upcoming Southern-style vegan cookbook. Recipe development is about halfway complete (got about 100 so far), so I'll need testers soon. I'll keep ya'll posted. Thanks for offering help and encouragement!


Anonymous said...

Ooh, I always wonder about mochi too. Now I'll have to get some and play around with it.

Vegan_Noodle said...

I have always wondered about that stuff too! Looks like I should try it out.

And wow, 100 recipes!! YOu must be keeping really busy in the kitchen!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Can't say that I've ever seen mochi - looks very intriguing!

100 recipes?? Now THAT'S impressive - good to stay active in the kitchen :0)

Anonymous said...

I bought some of the plain mochi because I had heard of it, and baked it according to package directions. It was interesting, but I didn't really know what to do with it - it's kind of bland on it's own. Now I know what to make next time!

See you tonight!

J said...

I've actually seen Mochi at the store, but had no idea what it is. How interesting.

Thanks for the recommendation of that book.

And best of luck with your cookbook, you know I'll be buying it. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Oh yum, I must try that. It's always fun to test out new foods, and you did an awesome job with this one!

By the way, you mentioned on Celine's page that you use a Lush shampoo bar with sparklies. Really?! That sounds like fun shampoo!

Looking forward to your cookbook!

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I was doin' okay on the falafel craving until you left that comment. Now all I can think about is hot crispy falafel, cool veggies, soft pita... at least it's not long before we will be eating it!

Theresa said...

Mochi sounds intriguing, I'll have to have a look around the asian grocery to see if there is any in Townsville.

Good job on your cookbook, and best of luck with the rest of the work. I can't wait until it's done!

Katy said...

I've never even heard of mochi, but I'm always interested to try new foods! I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

Hungry Hungry Dancer said...

I CANT WAIT FOR YOUR BOOK TO COME OUT!!!!! if you need someone to test who has allergies to soy and nuts let me know :)!

Sheridan said...

Hey, so I wanna be a tester...

I have already tested several, and they're awesome, but don't leave me out man. Haha!

Your food looks glorious as always.

I'm your ever-loving fan.