Refined foods had never touched our two-year-old daughter’s lips. Nor would they for another five years. Ever cheerful, Rebecca would munch on tiny bows her dad would patiently tie for her out of strands of boiled kombu. At parties, she’d sit contentedly, eating an orange oblivious to the maelstrom of plates teeming with fluffy birthday cake and drippy ice cream offered to grabbing hands.
At home, a real nifty treat, for our family, was mochi which came in flat blocks, vacuum–sealed in sturdy pouches, found in the back-refrigerators of every hip health-food store on the West Coast. We’d cut the mochi squares into smaller squares, fry them up on a griddle and watch them puff out into crazy shapes, then, we'd dip them into a garlicky tamari sauce or into maple syrup, to whichever our hankerings would lead us.. With its marvelous texture, hard and crunchy outside and soft and gooey inside, and its odd shape blooming before our very eyes, they were like the popcorn of my childhood – as much fun to watch, as they were to eat.
We were all intrigued by this odd snack. We really like it, but because it wasn’t shelf stable and didn’t come in every possible flavor we desired, we wanted to see if we could make our own. An afternoon’s curiosity led to one experiment after another and another. We figured out how to granulate our mochi and started blending the granules with a little rice milk, mashed banana and cinnamon and what came out were these nice, little pancakes that were also toasty on the outside and chewy on the inside. Not the large, light and fluffy pancakes floating in maple-inspired syrup, found at your neighborhood pancake house, but blini-sized and more intense in flavor and texture; with a kind of cheesy, eggy consistency. Kinda reminiscent of my mother’s macaroni and cheese, something to warm and set you in a good mood. Here was this pure indulgence, but made from only rice, so there was no guilt involved, but if you’re one to feel guilty about pleasurable experiences, go ahead and enjoy the guilt, too.
more to follow...