Mochi (pronounced mo-chee) is a traditional Japanese food made from a special short-grain sweet brown rice. The rice is steamed and pounded into a nutty, chewy dense square that can then be baked or pan-fried. After being inspired by Alicia Silverstone's Vegan Bible: The Kind Diet, I decided to try out her recipe for Mochi Waffles. Tweaking her instructions a bit, I found a Sunday brunch dish that was super-easy, healthy and delicious. These waffles would be perfect for a Vegan Easter brunch served with a big fruit salad and tempeh bacon. They also work for those craving waffles while following gluten-free or low-carb diets. Or if you enjoy a little oink with your breakfast, go for the real stuff, and still take solace in the whole grain goodness of these crispy, fluffy waffles. The tartness of the lemon and spiciness of the fresh ginger help cut some of the natural sweetness of the mochi and lend the dish a real kick of flavor.
Mochi Waffles with Lemon and Ginger-Scented Maple Glazed Walnuts
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Begin by heating your waffle iron to a very high temperature. The first time I tried this, I had the iron on medium heat and it didn't work well, so make it hot. In the meantime, cut the mochi into four waffle-size squares. Once the waffle iron is hot, place the mochi directly on it and close.
Next, heat a skillet to a medium temperature and toast the walnuts until they are warm and golden. Set aside.
Using that same pan, reduce the heat to low and add the maple syrup. Once the syrup is warmed, add about a teaspoon of the zest and the juice of the half the lemon. Next finely grate about a teaspoon of ginger into the lemony syrup. Mix it all together and add the walnuts back in, tossing to coat.
Once the mochi waffles have puffed up and turned crispy, plate them. Remember, they will stay a pale color so don't wait for them to brown. Now top the waffles with the maple-walnut mixture. Add more syrup if you like or serve as is.