Mochi, Japanese rice cakes can be toasted, microwaved, or boiled. During the past year or two, a new way to cook mochi has become very popular in Japan: grilling mochi on (or in???) a waffle iron! I first heard of this from Maki at Just Hungry and it’s great fun! See this post about moffles as well.
According to Sanyei Co., which came up with the moffle and also invented moffle makers for both business and home use, the product has been selling so well recently that there are hardly any left in stock… Yohei Yamasaki, a spokesman for Sanyei, said moffles started to become popular in December (2006) and January (2007) when the fare received media coverage introducing it as a unique, new type of food.
But the birth of the moffle goes back a lot further than this.
When Sanyei was carrying out a sales demonstration of a waffle iron in 1999, one observer commented, “It would be nice if we could toast mochi with it.”
Later on, the company tested mochi on a waffle iron, creating food people had never seen before, and received a trademark in 2000.
I’ve never seen a “moffle maker” but I do have a small waffle iron to experiment with. Set the temperature to high, brush with butter (I didn’t because my iron is the only teflon coated utensil in my kitchen), place the mochi in the center, close the top, and gently press until the lid closes. Fancy panini makers with slide in waffle grids have a floating hinge that allows the top to rest flat on thicker food, but no worries, even my inexpensive waffle iron worked fine: the mochi melts and expands until the top of the waffle iron rests flat of its own accord.
Above is my first attempt to make a cheese filled moffle. I cut the mochi in half to make it thinner, but one side was thicker than the other. I lowered the top part of the waffle iron and the mochi softened and puffed up. I put some cheese on one piece and covered it with the other. Note, any cheese you like would be fine!
Again, I lowered the top of the waffle iron and heated the mochi sandwich. It puffed up even more. I think I should have let the mochi cook a bit longer before adding the cheese because there would have been room for more cheese to actually fill the whole sandwich. This was the first moffle, and I didn’t have the temperature hot enough, so I flipped the mochi to grill up the other side.
For moffle II, I cut the mochi in half and laid the two pieces close together so they melted into one. Once the mochi had cooked, I grated some cheese and sprinkled it over the top. I just closed the waffle iron long enough for the cheese to melt. It did stick a bit to the top when I lifted the top and I had to quickly wipe away the cheese grease before it ran down into the hinge. Perhaps not the best way to make a cheese moffle!
I added a little soy sauce and had a nice snack.
the savory: mentaiko and cheese, or ham and mustard, tuna and capers…
the sweet: plain but topped with matcha ice cream and grated chocolate, cherry preserves and slivered almonds…
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