I really like the mochi cakes, the Japanese glutinous rice blocks that are traditionally found in the traditional New Year soup (zoni). Mochi is usually grilled before going into the soup, but I don't have a grill for it, and tend to just boil it into it for a little. I love it. My family less so. And they don't like the idea of mochi in any our miso soups. So I tried to pan-fry it, thinking that they like everything fried, and guess what? Fried mochi is a new favourite! Now I add a block of pan-fried mochi in almost every Japanese meal I make (that is, while my mochi stock last: it is not so easy to find it in New Zealand!).
In my (short) experience one of the best ways is to pan-fry mochi is with something that will also give it a bit of flavour, like capsicums. These are the little capsicums from my garden, small but tasty! Heat the oil in the frying pan, add slices of capsicum and mochi, turn everything a few times (I like to turn the mochi blocks on all six sides) and serve hot. Here is my mochi and capsicums served with soba, seaweed salad, avocado and Japanese pickles, a quick and balanced lunch!
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©