Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Mochi 3 Ways: Savory, Sweet and Sippable

From chicken wings to milk tea, mochi’s menu possibilities span the entire menu

Mochi 3 Ways: Savory, Sweet and Sippable

From chicken wings to milk tea, mochi’s menu possibilities span the entire menu

By Rob Corliss
January 31, 2024

By Rob Corliss
January 31, 2024

Mochi, a traditional Japanese delicacy, is crafted by meticulously pounding cooked short-grain rice until it transforms into a pliable paste, imbued with a delightful chewy texture. Often enhanced with sweeteners and thickeners before being shaped into various forms, mochi is making its way into an array of culinary applications, particularly desserts. In the U.S., for example, mochi has been embraced as a unique ice cream coating, and it is showing up in sweets that range from French toast to cookies.

But mochi’s textural interest also finds a showcase in savory applications,
like bao buns and protein coatings. Perhaps most exciting of all: it’s showing up in the beverage category, where it may be added as a topping or included as “drinkable mochi,” enhancing already-trending drinks like milk tea.

Driving mochi innovation is Gen Z, a demographic that is ready to make this novel treat its own. And with mochi’s vibrant colors and aesthetically pleasing presentations, it’s ideal for social media posts, further contributing to its huge popularity with diners in this generation.

Photo Credit: Cassandra Wang

At New York’s Noreetuh, the Mochiko Fried Chicken boasts an extra crispy texture thanks to its mochiko flour batter, made with gluten-free sweet rice.

ON THE MENU

APPETIZERS + ENTRÉES

Mochi Cheddar Hush Puppies with Thai chile jam
Best Quality Daughter, San Antonio

Corn Mochi with goat Gouda, Fresno chile and cilantro
State Bird Provisions, San Francisco

BEVERAGES

Vanilla-Flavored Black Tea Latte with Mochi Boba, featuring black sugar mochi boba with cream mousse
Tiger Sugar, based in Taiwan and Ellicott City, Md.

Triple M: Mango slush and coconut cream foam with drinkable mochi on the bottom and a smooth, drinkable cherry mochi topping
— Micha Boba Tea Bar, Stanton, Calif.

DESSERTS + TREATS

Green Tea Affogato: Green tea ice cream, red bean paste, mochi ball, cornflakes, condensed milk and matcha espresso
Cocoron, New York

Ube-White Chocolate-Macadamia Cookie made with mochi rice
Fill Bakeshop, Costa Mesa, Calif.

TRY THIS

  • Mochi Musubi — Grill a square of dried mochi, then glaze it with a blend of oyster-soy sauce. Top with a thin slice of grilled meat, fish or vegetable, then wrap a strip of nori around the middle.
  • Mochi Waffles — Substitute mochiko flour for the all-purpose variety to use in a sweet or savory waffle batter, creating a Liège-type waffle texture.
  • Mochi Chicken Nuggets — Toss small chunks of marinated chicken breast or thigh meat in seasoned mochiko flour batter and fry until crispy. Serve with a dipping sauce.

Mochi, a traditional Japanese delicacy, is crafted by meticulously pounding cooked short-grain rice until it transforms into a pliable paste, imbued with a delightful chewy texture. Often enhanced with sweeteners and thickeners before being shaped into various forms, mochi is making its way into an array of culinary applications, particularly desserts. In the U.S., for example, mochi has been embraced as a unique ice cream coating, and it is showing up in sweets that range from French toast to cookies.

But mochi’s textural interest also finds a showcase in savory applications,
like bao buns and protein coatings. Perhaps most exciting of all: it’s showing up in the beverage category, where it may be added as a topping or included as “drinkable mochi,” enhancing already-trending drinks like milk tea.

Driving mochi innovation is Gen Z, a demographic that is ready to make this novel treat its own. And with mochi’s vibrant colors and aesthetically pleasing presentations, it’s ideal for social media posts, further contributing to its huge popularity with diners in this generation.

Photo Credit: Cassandra Wang

At New York’s Noreetuh, the Mochiko Fried Chicken boasts an extra crispy texture thanks to its mochiko flour batter, made with gluten-free sweet rice.

ON THE MENU

APPETIZERS + ENTRÉES

Mochi Cheddar Hush Puppies with Thai chile jam
Best Quality Daughter, San Antonio

Corn Mochi with goat Gouda, Fresno chile and cilantro
State Bird Provisions, San Francisco

BEVERAGES

Vanilla-Flavored Black Tea Latte with Mochi Boba, featuring black sugar mochi boba with cream mousse
Tiger Sugar, based in Taiwan and Ellicott City, Md.

Triple M: Mango slush and coconut cream foam with drinkable mochi on the bottom and a smooth, drinkable cherry mochi topping
— Micha Boba Tea Bar, Stanton, Calif.

DESSERTS + TREATS

Green Tea Affogato: Green tea ice cream, red bean paste, mochi ball, cornflakes, condensed milk and matcha espresso
Cocoron, New York

Ube-White Chocolate-Macadamia Cookie made with mochi rice
Fill Bakeshop, Costa Mesa, Calif.

TRY THIS

  • Mochi Musubi — Grill a square of dried mochi, then glaze it with a blend of oyster-soy sauce. Top with a thin slice of grilled meat, fish or vegetable, then wrap a strip of nori around the middle.
  • Mochi Waffles — Substitute mochiko flour for the all-purpose variety to use in a sweet or savory waffle batter, creating a Liège-type waffle texture.
  • Mochi Chicken Nuggets — Toss small chunks of marinated chicken breast or thigh meat in seasoned mochiko flour batter and fry until crispy. Serve with a dipping sauce.

About the Author

mmROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.

 

About The Author

Rob Corliss

ROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.