Museum Picks

Leslie Yamaguchi’s pick: Hawaii’s Best Mochi Recipes

Kakimochi, ozoni, an-filled mochi, and mochi sprinkled with kinako—these are the most familiar ways that Japanese Americans eat mochi. However, if eating mochi is something you only associate with New Year’s and holiday celebrations, then Jean Watanabe Hee’s Hawaii’s Best Mochi Recipes is definitely a cookbook that will open your eyes to the many surprising ways mochi can be prepared. This cookbook includes sixty pages of dessert recipes, microwave versions for the cook in a hurry, and a number of tasty entrees. After reading through the many delicious dessert and entrée recipes, you will find that mochi is a treat that can be savored at any time of the year.

It seems as though I am always in search of interesting new dishes to make for family and friends. This cookbook includes many great dishes which are particularly good for potlucks. Some of my favorites are the baked mochi recipes that include coconut milk, the mango and banana breads that are made with mochiko, and the fried chicken recipes where the mochiko helps to create a crispy coating for the chicken. The most unusual recipe I have tried is the pumpkin mochi; it was an interesting and delicious addition to our traditional Thanksgiving buffet.

Best yet, Hawaii’s Best Mochi Recipes makes a great gift—great for the holidays and for everyday occasions. It’s also fun to include it in a gift basket or set, wrapping it up with a box of mochiko, maybe a couple of decorative Japanese dish towels, and a wooden rice spoon. Whether you give the book or the mochi creations themselves as gifts, Hawaii’s Best Mochi Recipes is definitely something to remember on any gift-giving occasion!

Leslie Yamaguchi is a Store Volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum. She contributes stories for the Museum Store Online, as well as helping with book signings, shipping, and inventory. In her real life, she teaches high school English and is experimenting with mochi-making.

June 2002


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