What is Mochi Pizza?
If you like Japanese food and sweets, you may have already tried mochi (Japanese rice cake). It’s a key ingredient in many Japanese sweets, like daifuku and Dango. But have you ever tried it in a pizza?
Mochi pizza is just what it sounds like, a pizza with a crust made of mochi. But this mochi isn’t the sweet kind you get in Japanese wagashi. It’s a kind of mochi called kirimochi or kakumochi, that looks like a hard, white brick. The hard mochi pieces soften when cooked. Kirimochi is a common treat in Japan around New Year, when they are eaten with soy sauce and nori, or sweetened soy sauce.
One day, some inventive person came up with the idea of using thinly sliced kirimochi as a pizza crust. The result is a crust that is crunchy, easy to make, and gluten-free! Another version involves adding glutinous rice flour (mochi rice flour) as a substitute for wheat flour in normal pizza dough, which makes the dough chewier. Mochi pizza is one of those beautiful instances when two cultures combine to create a dish no one country could have imagined on their own.
The crust of mochi pizza is unexpectedly crisp, completely different from normal chewy mochi. But don’t worry, you can still have chewy mochi on your pizza too! If you want that classic chewy mochi texture, try a mochi and cheese mixture as a topping instead, another popular pizza variation here in Japan.
Make Your Own Mochi Pizza
There are a number of Japanese recipes on the Japanese recipe site Cookpad for pizza with mochi as an ingredient. As many Japanese households don’t have ovens, the recipes can usually be made in a frying pan, making them very easy. Toppings can range from homely (using leftover stir-fried vegetables) to fancy (using truffle oil and parmesan cheese).
This basic recipe is a take on the classic margarita pizza, but you can use any toppings you would like. If you’re using vegetables or meat, just be sure to pre-cook them first, as they will not cook while you make the crust. It should be enough to make 1 pizza.
5 (50g each) blocks of hard mochi (also called kirimochi or kakumochi). You can get kirimochi at many Asian supermarkets.
50 ml water
4 Tbs/ 50ml Tomato sauce
Plain cooking oil
Olive oil to taste
Spices and herbs to taste: garlic powder, black pepper, dried basil, etc.
- Slice the mochi blocks in half lengthwise, to make them thinner.
- Add a little cooking oil into the pan. Place a single layer of mochi slices into the pan, as many as will fit comfortably, without overlapping. Bring to medium-low heat.
- The mochi will start to expand, soften and melt. Press the melting pieces together using a spatula, so they form a single crust. As the mochi softens, use your spatula to mold it to the shape of the pan, then flatten it down, to give the crust your desired shape and thickness.
- Once the mochi is entirely melted, add 50ml water. Cover and continue cooking. At this stage take care that the bottom of the crust doesn’t burn. Once the crust has the desired crispness and browning on the bottom, flip it and brown the other side.
- Once both sides of the crust are browned, bring the pan to low heat.
- Spread the tomato sauce onto the crust, leaving the edges bare, like a normal pizza crust.
- Sprinkle on the cheese, then add the herbs and spices. Drizzle on olive oil.
- Cover the pan with a lid and continue cooking until the cheese is just melted.
- Take the pizza off the heat and enjoy!
Other Mochi Pizza Ideas
If you want to make the pizza even more Japanese, why not add other popular pizza toppings in Japan, like mentaiko (spicy fish eggs) or nori (dried seaweed). This recipe makes mochi pizza using tuna, wasabi, and shiso (a Japanese herb).
Mochi is also a classic ingredient in many Japanese sweets (check out our article on mochi sweets). So, why not try making a sweet mochi pizza instead? You could try melting some chocolate and marshmallows instead of the tomato sauce and cheese. Or, you could add anko (red bean jam) and butter, for a take on the Japanese classic anko-butter toast. The ideas are limitless!
Would you make a mochi pizza? If so, tell us what toppings you’re going to use in the comments below!
If you want to try other mochi-based snacks and sweets, check out our monthly subscription box! May’s box includes Tirol Choco sakura mochi, chocolate with mochi inside!