Rice Cakes (mochi) are a Japanese confection made by pounding rice into a paste and forming into shapes. Plays a prominent role in Japanese New Years celebrations.
During New Years celebration in Japan mochi is a tradition snack, but also eaten through out the year. For New Years a family may buy a large rice cake to display somewhere in the home and place a Japanese Tangerine(mikan) on the top. In Japan the mikan is seen as a symbol of prosperity.
Traditionally mochi is made with a large stone urn (usu) and two heavy wooden paddles (kine), but if you'd like to make one with considerably less effort, here's an easy-to-make recipe taken from Nibbledish.
Combine water, mochiko and sugar and stir until smooth. Coat a microwave safe container with oil or Pam spray and pour the batter in a relatively shallow layer. Cover with air-tight lid or plastic wrap and microwave ~7 minutes on high or until done.
Put on mochiko-covered surface and wait to cool.
“To make the mochi, pull off a small piece of dough, roll it into a ball and flatten. Then take some [filling of choice], put them in the center of the round and pinch it closed so you have a nice [filling of choice] filled ball (hopefully). Voila.”
Since mochi is created from white rice the standard color is white, but colored versions can be created by mixing certain flowers, leaves, or dyes. The white product is considered as sacred.
Pink mochi (sakura-mochi) is created by using cherry blossoms.
Green mochi (kusa mochi) is made using mug wort leaves.
Brown mochi (kibi mochi) is made using brown rice.
Mochi can be toasted in an oven broiler or on a grill. Normally taking three to four minutes per side. They tend to expand once heated.
Moffles are waffles that are created from mochi. To make moffles you takes cubes of mochi and press them into a waffle iron, taking care to spray both sides of the iron with non stick spray. There is no need to press at first since mochi becomes more pliable as it cooks. Cooking time averages at about four minutes.
The origin of the name comes from combining the word mochi and waffles. Like with normal waffles, moffles can have ingredients and flavors added.
The popularity of moffles in Japan has encouraged cafes and other restaurants to order special 'Moffle Irons' that reach a higher temperature then an average waffle iron.
A filling can be added to mochi to create a confection called daifuku 大福. The filling can be sweet or savory. More often covered in confectioners sugar or cocoa powder to prevent sticking to hands. Two examples of filled rice cakes are mame-daifuku and ichigo-daifuku.
Mame-Daifuku is filled with a sweet bean paste. Ichigo-daifuku is made with a sweet, strawberry filling.
In the series Nagasarete Airantou by Takeshi Fujishiro. Mame-daifuku is the favorite food of many in the female cast. Suzu especially goes crazy for this dish. Even more so when prepared by Chizuru, the mother of Ayane and Machi. She will go to incredible lengths for them. Ayane even takes advantage of this weakness of Suzu. Since Ayane likes spacy foods, she will slip her spicy version on Suzu, who hates spicy foods.