Looking for a new adventure in your pandemic kitchen? Author and Edible East Bay contributor Kaori Becker is offering free copies of her book, Mochi Magic: 50 Traditional and Modern Recipes for the Japanese Treat (Storey, 2020) to the first four readers who contact us. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or get in touch on Facebook. [Note: All four giveaway copies were claimed on December 30, 2020.]
Becker’s cookbook was one of our favorite cookbooks published by local authors in 2020. Mochi, a chewy, rice-dough cake made from short grain glutinous rice known as mochigome, is eaten year-round, but has a special place in Japanese new year celebrations. Becker’s comprehensive guide is filled with dozens of recipes for sweet confections, and also includes a section with a couple of savory new year’s dishes. Her simple, clear recipes and cute, colorful photographs provide all the guidance you need to make delicious, whimsical mochi treats at home.
We asked Becker for some tips for working with mochi.
For someone new to mochi-making, which recipe do you recommend as an easy place to start?
Microwave daifuku is a very popular and easy go-to recipe. The matcha mochi brownie is also super easy, as is the chocolate mochi brownie. The mochi donut recipe accompanied by the matcha glaze is also super easy and delicious. It requires a donut baking pan.
Any suggestions for good places to stock up on supplies?
We like shopping at New Sang Chong Market in San Leandro for mochiko, the sweet rice flour that’s a key ingredient in almost all the recipes, and sweet red bean paste. You can always count on the large Asian supermarkets like 99 Ranch and Pacific Ranch to carry everything you need, but also consider supporting small local markets like Yaoya-San in El Cerrito, Monterey Market and Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley, and also Berkeley Bowl.
Any recommendations for additional resources?
My mom, Yukiko, and I offer Asian cooking classes through our business, Kaori’s Kitchen. During the pandemic, we’ve had to pivot into doing mochi classes online instead of in-person, and while it’s been a big change, we’re getting the hang of it.
“Mochi by the Bay: Wisdom from local masters of the craft” by Kaori Becker, an article with recipes, Edible East Bay, Fall 2019.
“Make mochi for New Year’s with this Bay Area native’s adorable new cookbook” by Janelle Bitker, SF Chronicle, December 30, 2020.
Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers.