Mochi is a traditional Japanese rice cake made with glutinous rice (also called sticky rice or sweet rice), most commonly moulded into shapes and usually rectangles or circles and eaten during special occasions and particularly festive season like the Japanese New Year. There are many types of mochi flavours and sweet fillings: green tea, matcha, mango, red bean paste, ground peanuts, black sesame, taro, chocolate, coffee and many more modern variations. For my gluten free mochi recipe, I have made it all-natural mango flavour and fresh and sweet mango fruit fillings. As it is mango season in Australia now, we are spoilt with so many different varieties of sweet and tasty mangoes at the moment. This mango mochi recipe is also vegan, dairy free, nut free, soy free, corn free, refined sugar free and allergy friendly.
History of Mochi
These glutinous rice cakes emerge during Japan’s Heian period (794-1185) and an assortment of mochi were imperial offerings during religious ceremonies as far back as the 10th century. The exact history of mochi is undetermined but it is belief to be originated from China. Customarily, mochi is prepared all over Japan in a ceremony called mochitsuki. Glutinous rise is rinsed and soaked overnight in water the night before pounding. Then steamed and cooked fully the next morning. The pounding process involves a pounder and a rotator. The pounder will pound the mochi with a wooden mallet in a stone or wooden mortar (called an “usu”) and the rotator will turn the mochi to ensure it retains moisture. This process needs both the pounder and the rotator to be in sync in order to prevent injuries. As soon as the dough becomes soft and smooth, it will be made into various shapes and sizes. They can be consumed fresh with numerous types of sauces, stuffed with sweet fillings or with seaweed.
Types of Mochi
Mochi is made into popular confectionery like traditional candy called wagashi and mochigashi and daifuku and ichigo daifuku, mochi stuffed with sweet filling like whole strawberry or kiwifruit; sakuramochi, flavoured and dyed with cherry blossoms, normally filled with red bean paste and covered with a pickled cherry leaf; mochi ice cream; dango (mochi dumpling), served in bean based soup called oshiruko or ozenzai, and noodle soup called chikara udon; made into gel-like sweets called warabimochi and mochi waffles, often topped with ice cream. Modern mochi is frequently made by electric machines rather than the pounding method. However, it is claimed that machines processing of mochi is not as tasty as using the pounding method.
History of Mango
Mangoes (Mangifera Indica L.) are tropical stone fruits that belongs to the family of the Anacardiaceae, the same family as the cashew and pistachio nuts. They originated from South Asia and East India and grown since four thousand years ago. Legend showed that the Buddhist monks planted the mango tree so that Buddha could meditate under a mango tree for shade, making mango a holy fruit in the area. Individuals travelled with mango seeds from Asia and introduced them to the East Africa, the Middle East and South America during the period of 300 to 400 A.D.
Mangoes are currently grown in many tropical and warmer subtropical climates in the world, with India being the largest producer and China, the second largest. In Australia, summer is our mango season, with so many sweet tasting and succulent mangoes available currently. Today, mangoes are deemed to be one of the most popular tropical fruits consumed worldwide, loved by many for their distinctive, tasty and juicy flavour of and the fact that they are frequently described as the “king of fruits” due to their taste and high nutritional values.
Culinary Uses of Mango
Extensively used in many different types of cuisines, mangoes are made into ice cream, sorbets, smoothies, milkshakes, juices, jelly, pudding, chutneys, pickles, fruit preserves, dried fruits and even pies. They can also be added to muesli as dried fruits, used to make mango lassi, added to salads, blended with sweet chilli sauce or paste and commonly served freshly cut as a complement to desserts.
Nutritional Values and Health Benefits of Mango
Mangoes are not only high in prebiotic dietary fibre and low in calories, they are also a superb source of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A and folate/folic acid (vitamin B9). In addition, they are a good source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and potassium. Mangoes also supply some calcium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium. Their potent antioxidants include beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, astragalin and quercetin.
Health benefits of mangoes include maintain healthy blood pressure level; reduce risks of cardiovascular disease; boost the immune system; promote healthy digestive system; support healthy skin and bone; maintain healthy eyes and lower risks of age related macular degeneration; lower cholesterol levels; may decrease risks of colon, breast, lungs, leukemia and prostate cancers; lower blood sugar level and may aid in the management of diabetes.
You may also like my delicious and tasty Mango Pudding recipe.