I’m in the land of mochi, sushi and all things kawaii and I’m loving it! If you’ve never had mochi before, you should definitely try it. Mochi is kind of hard to describe with it’s gooey chewiness, but all you really need to know is that it’s mostly about the texture and its texture is delicious! Mochi is made from short grain sticky rice and as a result, is quite sticky, as well as neutral flavoured. This opens up a lot of possibilities when working with mochi. It’s often used in delicate Japanese sweets or wrapped around ice cream, but my favourite way to enjoy mochi is on the more savoury side of things.
If you eat mochi on it’s own you’ll find it quite bland, but once you grill it up and brush it with soy sauce, it turns into something that cannot be missed. Wrap it in bacon and it’s even more addictive. Something magical happens when you grill mochi. It puffs up with deliciousness, becomes golden brown and crispy on the outside and gooey and chewy on the inside. It’s one of my favourite things to order when I go out for yaki-tori and if they have it on the menu, I will usually get a couple of sticks.
I love going to yaki-tori because the chef grills up all the sticks right in front of you over a open flame charcoal grill. As a person who always has food envy, it’s the perfect way to see what everyone else is ordering. Even if something doesn’t sound so great on the menu, such as bonjiri, or chicken tail, when you actually see the golden brown glistening sticks grilling, you rethink your order.
That exact thing happened to me the first time I came across yaki-mochi. “Grilled rice cakes” didn’t sound that enticing on the menu so I didn’t order it. At least not right away. Then I saw the chef grill up skewer after skewer of something I could not identify. It had a life of its own puffing up and deflating with the heat of the grill. It turned from pure white to golden brown and crispy looking. I asked the waitress and of course it was the one thing I didn’t order, the yaki-mochi. It turned out to be delicious and I learned never to judge a dish by its name!
Bacon-Wrapped Yaki Mochi
each block of mochi makes 2 skewers
- mochi blocks, as needed
- sliced bacon, as needed (1 slice of bacon per skewer)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
Cut each block into eight equal sized cubes. If the blocks of mochi are too difficult to cut up as is, heat them up slightly in the microwave in 20 second increments. Cut slices of bacon in half lengthwise and then crosswise so that each slice of bacon is in four.
Place the pieces of mochi on a microwave safe place (make sure the mochi isn’t touching) and microwave for 20 seconds. The mochi should be slightly softened and easy to pierce with a wooden skewer. If not, microwave for 20 seconds more.
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, mix together the soy sauce and mirin.
Wrap each mochi cube with a piece of bacon and skewer, 4 bacon-wrapped mochi pieces to a stick. Grill over medium heat (you can do this on the barbecue, or in a grill pan indoors), flipping regularly, and brushing with the soy-mirin mixture until the bacon is crispy and the mochi is puffed up and browned, 20-30 minutes. The key to delicious mochi is patience. The longer you grill, the more puffy and crispy the mochi will become. When it looks just about right, turn up the heat to high to give it one last blast for some extra crispiness. Enjoy hot!