February 20, 2012

Isobe Mochi/磯辺餅

For lunch today, I had two isobe mochi, together with some leftovers. Isobe mochi refers to a piece of mochi first grilled, then coated with soy sauce, and wrapped in nori.
今日の昼には、磯辺餅を二個と残り物を食べました。磯辺餅とは、まず焼いて、しょう油をからめ、海苔で巻いたものです。

Individually packaged mochi:
個包装されたもち:
Not all mochi are individually packaged. Mochi not individually packaged tend to get moldy sooner or later even if stored in the fridge.
全ての餅が個包装されているわけではありません。個包装されていない餅は、冷蔵庫に入れてもカビが生えやすいです。

As this drawing shows,
この図の通り、
each piece of mochi has crisscross slits on the top and bottom and a slit on each side. Not all mochi have such slits on them, and believe it not, such slits are quite a recent invention. ECHIGO SEIKA,Co.,Ltd. was the first to get a patent for such slits, followed by Sato Foods Co., Ltd. The former sued the latter for patent infringement. The latter won the first trial, but last year, the former won the second. Click here to see how their slits differ (top: Echigo, bottom: Sato).
それぞれの餅の上部と下部に十字の切り込み、各側面にも切り込みがあります。すべての餅にこのような切り込みがあるわけではありません。信じられないかも知れませんが、このような切り込みは最近の発明です。越後製菓がこのような切り込みで最初に特許を取り、次に佐藤食品工業が取りましたが、前者が後者を特許侵害で訴えました。後者が一審では勝訴しましたが、去年の二審では前者が勝訴しました。ここをクリックすれば、両社の切り込みの違いが分かります(上が越後、下が佐藤)。

The back of the package describes how to grill and simmer mochi.
パッケージの裏側には餅の焼き方と煮方の説明があります。
I was born and bred in Tokyo, and I always grilled mochi before putting them in zoni. Here in Niigata, people simmer mochi to soften before putting them in zoni.
私は生まれも育ちも東京なので、いつも餅を焼いてから雑煮に入れていましたが、新潟では、餅を煮て柔らかくしてから雑煮に入れます。

Can you see the slits?
切り込みが見えますか?
The slits will become more apparent when you grill them. I like to use the toaster oven to grill them.
切り込みは焼けばもっとはっきり見えます。私は餅をオーブントースターで焼くのが好きです。
My father is adamant about the way isobe mochi should be made. He insists that once mochi are grilled, they should be coated with soy sauce and then grilled again to scorch the soy sauce slightly. I agree with him, but I can't do that with a toaster oven.
父は磯辺餅の作り方にうるさくて、餅が焼けたら、しょう油をからめて、また焼いてしょう油を少し焦がさないといけないっと言っています。私も賛成ですが、オーブントースターではできません。

So, I just let the mochi soak as much soy sauce as it can,
というわけで、餅にできるだけしょう油を染み込ませ、
wrap the mochi in nori.
海苔で巻きます。
I placed a slice of processed cheese on the other mochi before wrapping in nori.
もう一つの餅には、海苔で巻く前にプロセスチーズを載せました。

I like the combination of mochi and cheese.
餅とチーズの組み合わせが好きです。

18 comments:

Fräulein Trude said...

To get this right: this is rice flour processed with water, formed into rectangled bricks (looks like a soap bar), steamed and cut and later on sealed and ready for sale? And the mochi can be grilled and glazed - are they as chewy gluey as fresh mochi? I have never seen plain mochi in stores only sweet mochi filled with whatever in funny shapes.

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki, I have never actually had mochi, but I see it in my Japanese shop now in different sizes and forms. Your preparation looks so simple and so delicious!

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: This type of mochi is made by steaming mochi rice in grain form, transferring it to an usu (mortar), kneading with a kine (pestle), and then finally pounding with the pestle.
Do a Google video search for 餅つき (mochi pounding), and you will get lots of results like this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bim08yNFchg&feature=related

Even commercially available mochi is made in much the same way, except cheap brands.

This type of mochi is NOT sweetened, and is first heated in some way (grilled or simmered) to soften before being eaten. When heated, mochi will become chewy and gluey again just like freshly made mochi.

I think you are talking about sweetened mochi eaten as confections. When sweetened with sugar, mochi stays soft even after cooled.

There is another type of mochi like warabi mochi and "milk mochi" which is not made from mochi rice but some kind of starch.

Sissi: Thanks for your comment, but note that isobe mochi is not my invention; it's just one of the popular ways to eat mochi.

Fräulein Trude said...

Ah I got it. Thank you very much. I have seen some videos on mochi pounding before - sometimes it is quite artistic, guys risking their hands and/or other parts. There seems to be a huge difference in taste between mochi pounded from freshly steamed rice and mochi made from rice flour. Must try whenever I get the time to visit Japan.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: Mochi made by pounding with a kine is called kine tsuki mochi 杵つき餅. The main difference is that pounding with a kine has the effect of expelling air bubbles from mochi, whereas mochi made with an electric mochi maker, which turns steamed mochi rice into mochi with its propeller-like blade, contains numerous tiny air bubbles.

The Japanese love the chewy, gluey texture of mochi.

Sissi said...

Hiroyuki, I had no idea it was very popular way, but I still am very grateful you itroduced it to me :-)

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi:

According to a recent survey
http://ranking.goo.ne.jp/ranking/013/rice_cake_way_of_eating/

1位 きな粉餅
2位 砂糖しょうゆ餅
3位 磯辺餅
4位 うどんに入れる(力うどん)
5位 あんこ餅
6位 鍋料理に入れる
7位 餅ぜんざい
8位 からみ餅(大根おろしとしょうゆ)
9位 チーズ餅
10位 お好み焼きに入れる

1st: Kinako (roasted soybean powder + sugar)
2nd: Sugar + soy sauce
3rd: Isobe mochi
4th: Put in udon
5th: Anko (azuki bean jam)
6th: Put in nabe
7th: Zenzai (anko + water)
8th: Grated daikon + soy sauce
9th: Cheese
10th: Put in okonomiyaki

Anyway, don't be confused with this type of mochi with mochi as confections and mochi made with other starches.
When we hear the word mochi, this type of mochi (mochi made from glutinous rice, unsweetened) is the first that comes to mind.

muskratbyte said...

I love mochi prepared like this! But this type of mochi is hard for me to find. I've never had it with cheese, it sounds insane but I will try it.

Hiroyuki said...

muskratbyte: So, is mochi hard to find in the United States, too? I'm sorry to hear that!

Sissi said...

Thank you for this detailed information! I see I have a big choice of dishes.

YSC said...

Hi Hiroyuki, how long do you grill the mochi for? I'm always worried that it will get burned. And is it better not to use a tray underneath it?

Muskratbyte, if you are near a Japanese supermarket such Mitsuwa in the US you can buy this kind of mochi.

Hiroyuki said...

YSC: 3-4 minutes in my 1,000 W toaster oven, and I keep an eye on the mochi so it won't get burned.

A tray is usually not used. I have never grilled mochi with a tray underneath it, so I don't know how the mochi is grilled with a tray underneath it.

Ruminating Roy said...

Hiroyuki, unless you're in a major city like Seattle or New York, mochi are hard to find in any form.I'm not sure where Muskrat is, but we live in the same state and there are only a handful of stores which carry real mochi like your pictures (my wife prefers the same brand).

The idea of some cheese sounds surprisingly good, that may become a part of breakfast at some point soon!

Hiroyuki said...

Ruminating Roy: Thank you for your clarification. I guess you and your wife are lucky!

Mochi and cheese go very well together. Pizza mochi (mochi with pizza sauce and cheese on top) also tastes good!

muskratbyte said...

I only wish I was near a Mitsuwa! Most of the Asian supermarkets in Texas are the Vietnamese variety, so they often don't carry my favorite Japanese foods. However, I was able to find some at a Japanese store called Kazy in Dallas. They were expensive - 10-16 dollars for a bag of individually wrapped moch blocks. Now, I'll have to try one with cheese.

Hiroyuki said...

muskratbyte: 10-16 dollars? That sounds like a rather high markup. I got mine for a bargain price of 598 yen. I think it's usually sold for 798 yen or so.

Do try a combination of mochi and cheese! I hope you like it!

muskratbyte said...

I tried this with cheese, and it's very very different, but I like it! Also, please note that price was for a 700 gram bag! I have to ration these because I can't afford to buy them often. I need to find a cheaper source!

Hiroyuki said...

muskratebyte: I'm glad you like it!

Oh, I see. I had assumed yours was also a 1-kg bag.