Mochi is a sticky rice cake that’s similar to buchi sans the sesame seeds. It plays an important part in the Japanese food culture where it’s made in sweet and savory variants and eaten during the Japanese new year holidays. Back in the early 90’s in Manila, Dreyer’s sold a frozen mochi, but I don’t remember being all that impressed by it.
Fast forward to now: entrepreneur Maria Gorre revives the mochi tradition in Manila with her modernized version of these sticky confections. I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention at first, but her email had the words, “… peanut butter and chocolate…”, and I find myself magnetized.
So there I am in Maria’s house sipping a cool glassful of coffee that she’s kindly made for me. I listen to her talk about her venture, eyes sparkling and bright, her hands animated ”“ ah, the signs of an impassioned person wanting to be her own boss. “I was looking for something to make, I wanted something new, something that nobody else makes,” she begins. “Then my sister came back from Japan with these chocolate mochi balls and I found them so good. Up ”˜til that point, I had never had a good mochi ball here in Manila.”
Insufficient freezer power prevented Maria from making the ice cream mochi balls which were her first choice. “So I tried making the chocolate ones, and they turned out great,” she chuckles. She shows me a small bowlful of the pounded glutinous rice (malagkit), the main ingredient in her mochi. Rubbing it between my fingers, I’m amazed at how fine the powder is. It has a texture like cornstarch with only the smell of toasted rice betraying its true character. Maria laughs when I ask her “Did you pound this yourself?” My voice echoes my disbelief. She laughs gustily and confesses that her supplier does the sweat work for her. “Whew, that’s a relief,” I exclaim. “And here I am thinking you did even that yourself!”
Maria’s mochi, which she markets under the name dezÃ¢to, comes in four flavors: dark, milk, white chocolate, and the chocolate-peanut butter, which I immediately profess allegiance to after the first bite. Each flavor filling is scooped into truffle form then embraced by the glutinous rice. Cooked by steam, it’s pillow-soft and stick-to-my-teeth chewy, almost like tikoy (sweet cake eaten during Chinese new year) or galapong (gluey rice dough balls).
Rolled in cocoa powder or crushed walnuts for the white chocolate, these are messy to eat, blessing my jeans with a shower of brown. Oddly enough, I don’t mind that. But I somehow have this irresistible urge to pinch the mochi. (!) Lying there on the plate, they’re pudgy little orbs of sweet. Biting into one, my teeth sink into each sticky sphere, colliding with a gush of chocolate that oozes from the center. I have to laugh at my teeth marks now imprinted on the truffle center.
Maria asserts that the mochi should be served at room temperature and not straight from the fridge. For impatient types like myself however, I found that defrosting mochi in the microwave is okay, though it severely distorts it. (Sorry Maria, I was hungry, I couldn’t wait!).
Mochi by Maria
- Dark, milk chocolate, chocolate-peanut butter, white chocolate with walnuts
Make your choice from a box of 12 ”“ P350 / box of 6 ”“ P175
- Also available: sugar-free mochi in white and milk chocolate (price upon request)
- Special offer from June 1 ”“ August 1:
Box of 12 is on sale for P300 only!
Budget version for P250.
For orders, contact Maria:
727-1229 / 0920-9249155
100 Hemady St.
New Manila, Quezon City