Arare rice crackers : zarame ume + shoyu

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Shoyu arare (soy sauce caramel rice cracker).

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Ume zarame arare (plum and sugar rice cracker).
They are 2 classic flavors for Japanese rice crackers.
You had already seen :

savory arare
matcha arare

Let’s make 2 new types of Japanese rice crackers. Here is my simplified recipe :

Cut a mochi in cubes.
Everything about mochi (click)

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Let dry 2 days.

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Toast till golden in the oven toaster.

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ザラメ This square candy sugar is called zarame.

DSC08954-001 umeboshi pickled plum

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For the plum sugar flavor, pass in a mix of pasted umeboshi flesh and sarame sugar, dry in the toaster a few minutes, add more sarame sugar.

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For the shoyu, put a block or a tbs of kurozato black sugar in a sauce pan with a little water. When sugar has melted add some soy sauce, simmer till it gets syrupy. Coat the arare.

I have no idea about how long you can keep them. They disappear immediately after the photos are taken.

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Red and fried snow pellets. Duet of savory arare rice crackers.

In Osaka it’s just snowing mochi.

あられ餅(霰餅) arare mochi.
Arare mochi are cubes of dried mochi of about 1 millimiter. So they look like graupels. Yes, you know graupels ? They are snow pellets.
Arare means “snow pellets / graupels “. OK, I’m not sure what it is exactly, it’s a snow amount, bigger than a snow flake and smaller than an avalanche…
And that also the name of the arare rice crackers made with these cubes.

We can buy them, but I made mines from a block of mochi (see here).

When they are dry, you can fry them. That takes a few seconds till they triple of volume, then take color.

They are very crunchy. You can eat them like that, for the nice taste of fried rice. Or flavor them :

I’ve mixed hot chili (togarashi) and also mild paprika to moderate the fire. And a little salt. Just roll them in the spices.

It’s transparent. It’s “wasabi powder” .

More here.

So you get a set of home-made salty crackers. You can keep them a while… I imagine.

Simple nori okaki. Make your own Japanese rice crackers.

They are called okaki or sembei, and there are other names. Japanese rice crackers have been widely exported and they now have fans all over the world. It’s possible to make yours.

DRY MOCHI

You need dried mochi for this recipe. I guess it’s not so easy to find outside Japan If you can’t get them, just mochi rice blocks like this :

all about mochi

You can probably find some in most Asian stores.

Cut thin slices of mochi and let them dry in a room not too hot (it’s easy to find when you don’t heat your place in this season…). If you don’t see the difference :

Some are broken, they really look dryer. That took 3 days. That depends on weather. There are people that hang them outside, like these :

noshi mochi(click here)

The advantage is the dried mochi can be kept a long time, they don’t get molds on them. Then when you want to eat them, you can grill or fry them.

OKAKI or SEMBEI (rice crackers) :

Click here for grilled okaki

Frying them is an easy, quick and tasty method :

The oil was quite hot (180 degrees Celcius). After one minute, they change of color. Turn them. That takes 2 minutes.

On paper to absorb the excess of oil. That’s all !

Casual presentation : I’ve cut ribbons of nori seaweed and sprinkled salt. But you can stick the nori on the crackers. Another day, we’ll do that. Store them in a metal box. Unless you want to eat them…

You will see what I did with the cubes soon…

Crack… crack… crack…

Mochi 101

What to do with a mochi ? That’s a post about “New Year mochi”, post 102 is in the lab for other types of mochi…

Well check the map to see where you are to see what laws apply to you :

mochi map
(source, go visit for more mochi science) It’s the Japanese Mochi Union it seems, so be nice to your mochi…

Circles are 丸餅marumochi. Squares are 角餅kakumochi (rectangle board shaped mochi). In white, boiled mochi, in yellow grilled mochi (yakimochi).
These marumochi and kakumochi are made a while before New Year and sold still soft or a little dried. That’s 生餅namamochi (fresh, unprocessed), even if it can be kept months in modern packaging.

So that’s about Japanese tradition and regional variation. But you may wonder what is mochi ? Long story short :

Blocks of pounded cooked sticky rice.

How they make mochi (not me, people do, particularly strong men…) :


Source with other videos… making mochi in Nagano with explanation in English.

DIY mochi :

That I do, but… well, the result is a little different. I can’t be so violent in my little mortar. Well some Japanese families have the big stone mortar, but these days it’s mostly used to entertain the tourist at marketplaces and fairs. There are “home-bakery” machines that have a program to pound mochi, and they are popular. Well I buy my New Year mochi. Just for the fun, try it some day :


cooking mochi rice
DIY mochi for ohagi

STORAGE :
Most of the mochi are sold sealed plastic bags with a stuff to control humidity. You can keep them a while, but as soon as you open, expect them to dry (if let unpacked) or get molds (if you reclose the bag) within 3 to 7 days. So if possible open a pack for what you can eat soon.
Fresh mochi are sold unsealed, well, you have 3 to 7 days…
In case, you have leftovers, it’d better to let them dry (you can still cook them) than get mold (you’d have to throw away).

THE 2 WAYS OF COOKING MOCHI

To boil : place the mochi about 5 minutes in boiling or near boiling water or broth.

To grill : place the mochi about 5 minutes under the broiler/grill of your oven at 250 degree celcius. That can be done on a barbecue or brasero. As the mochi will become soft and nearly liquid, it would fall from a large net or a skewer, so place it either on a thin metallic net, or a metal plate.

Then eat your mochi :
-like that
-with a little soy sauce, with nori, with… your choice
-use it in recipes below

NB : You can grill or boil a piece of mochi not too big, that you could keep inside your hand. If it’s bigger, cut the big mochi with a knife.

Cut mochi is called and sold as 切り餅(きりもち)kirimochi.

zenzai (sweet soup with grilled mochi)
zenzai with boiled mochi
New Year soup O-zoni Kyoto style
o-zoni, colorful
O-zoni can be made with grilled mochi too.
nabe hot pot with boiled mochi

Modern mochi

You can cut dices of mochi and bake :

mochinammon bun

mochi pizza

You can cook mochi in a waffle-maker :

moffle recipe

You can grate mochi and roll a sweet in it :

Hari-nezumi, hedgehog

BUT Japanese people make their hedgehogs…well, close-looking sweets with another type of mochi. Some processed or dried mochi. See you in a “mochi 102” post.

Chick crackers and others

Baking chick pea and almond salty crackers. Why ? Because it’s good and :

: Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.

So for this challenge I’ve made :

egg sesame crackers
(online soon), pasta machine technique

Chick peas and almond crackers (making of below)

Crackers in previous posts on this blog :

red lentil 2 flavor crackers

nuka rice bran crackers

red lentil crisp bread

okaki (Japanese rice cracker from mochi)

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Making the chick pea crackers :

Chick pea cookies and crackers are usually made from chick pea flour (besan), but I don’t get it easily. I used soaked chick peas. I’ve added a little olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg.
The raw dough tasted good, but raw chick peas would give me… gas.

I pressed them like a tortilla and cut out when they were half-cooked.

I bake them and when they are half-hardened, I let them dry in the oven. I colored them in the oven-toaster.

The bits around are not lost. They feed the cook-photographer while writing the blog.

They are delicious nutty and crispy. They didn’t last long.

Colorful noshi mochi

I had showed some before :
dried mochi

These are flavored, and not home-made.
I’ve looked for more information. They are made from pounded cooked sticky rice (this is the definition of mochi).Then they are shaped and dried. In cool weather (0 C to 14 C), mochi can be hung outside to dry under sunlight. That’s why they are called noshi mochi or kan mochi (寒餅 = cold weather mochi), well, I don’t get why the noshi reading… but many sources say it’s the reason.

The whites have bits of kombu seaweeds. The greens owe their color to a wild herb called yomogi (Japanese mugwort).


(source : wikipedia’s Japanese page for yomogi)

The browns contain kuzato, Japanese black sugar. The yellow are colored with turmeric, curcuma. There are other natural flavorings according to the label but we can’t tell which is has what.

Toasted into okaki rice crackers :

Okaki, merci Aki !

A faithful reader of this blog brought me this.
What is it ?
Her home-made mochi.

It is slightly different from the “classical mochi”.
About mochi

It is dryer and cut in slices. You can fry or roast it.
After 3~4 minutes in the oven-toaster (broiler), that gives :

O-kaki. The Japanese traditional rice-cracker. It’s called “sembei” too in other parts of Japan.

You can see the texture… It’s delicious just like that. You can also dip it in soy sauce.

To learn more about Japanese crackers read this :

Shizuoka Gourmet Blog about Sembei