Friday, September 16, 2005

A Little Atypical Warabimochi


Looking cool and refreshing, don’t you think? These are called warabimochi (bracken-starch dumplings). For those who have never heard of such a thing before, warabimochi is one of the refreshing Japanese summer sweets and awfully easy to make. You just mix bracken-starch powder, sugar and water, heat in a saucepan, pour into a vat, refrigerate, and when settled, cut into bite-size chunks and sprinkle/coat with sugar-mixed kinako (roasted soybean powder). Some people love them with dark syrup.

Those who know warabimochi might feel like yelling at the photo, “But obachan, what is the aonori (green laver flakes) doing on top of the dumplings? Hey, they are not takoyaki!! ” I know, I know. It is not very common to eat bracken-starch dumplings this way. But I like it because a little bit of laver flakes adds a refreshing flavor. It is not my own idea…it's something I learned last year from a vendor.

This may not apply to Kanto area, but in Kansai in summer, you often hear the pre-recorded voice from warabimochi vendor’s van, repeating “waaa--rabiii--mochiiiii---.” I usually buy the dumplings at a supermarket, but just once last summer, I bought some from a vendor in Kochi city. He asked me if I wanted aonori in addition to kinako, and from curiosity I said yes. Since then it has been my habit to eat this dessert with both kinako AND aonori.

These are from a supermarket, not home-made

I guess warabimochi is more commonly served like this. Anyway, it is a wonderful summer dessert with a LONG history (-- said to be invented about 1,000 years ago). The dumplings are a lot stickier than jelly and really remind you of the texture of mochi (rice cake), which is almost addicting… at least, for me ;)


Anonymous said...

looked like ice cubes :p 

Posted by babe_kl

Anonymous said...

How wonderful...I wasn't sure I was thinking of the same thing until I went to the link you provided...Then all the memories came flooding back...YES!!!!!! I remember.....Thanks for the memories..... 

Posted by Carlyn

Anonymous said...

At first I thought: maybe obachan is cleaning out her freezer again, and these are ice cubes that happened to have a little bit of seaweed powder on top.
Having never eaten them I can't imagine what they taste like--are they chewy like mochi?

Anyway brilliant pictures. Fit to be in an artbook. 

Posted by joanna

Anonymous said...

hi obachan,
i have been eating those warabimochi without knowing what they are called. though i've only had them with the soybean powder(?) they definitely are addicting! now i can ask for it by name when i visit a japanese supermarket. :)

Posted by sue

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan! Mmm...those warabimochi look so good! I ate something that looks similar to it but it had a mung bean paste or red bean paste filling and was wrapped in a leaf. Would it be the same thing? Anyways, great photos as usual. ^_^ 

Posted by Tea

Anonymous said...

Obachan! Those leaves sort of look like marijuana leaves! Tsk Tsk! :) 

Posted by Alicat

Anonymous said...

Yum .. yum..! obachan.. :)
At first i thought it was ice cubes.. :) and you know me and ice cubes..! i really love it..!
So pretty and so yummy..!!

Posted by Big BoK

Anonymous said...

Yeeeeee….!! :O I presented a Japanese delicacy with 1,000 years of history and refreshing green maple leaves that represent traditional Japanese beauty of summer season, and you guys see ice cubes and dope?! Ahhhh…..!!! But I agree… they do look like those things… *Sob*
OK, I’ll upload another photo to show you the non-ice-cuby property of the dumplings. See?
… Don’t tell me these look like ameba this time.

Well, actually they are much softer.

Oh, you had them while you were in Japan? Good. I’m glad that my post brought you back good memories.

Ahhhhh….!!! No, I don’t clean the freezer that often, which I guess I should… Yes, when I clean the freezer, I do find ice with some evidence of what was stored in there, and… yeah, it might be fun to post about such ice from freezer cleaning. They’d tell a lot about my eating habits. But this time it wasn’t the case. I wouldn’t say the dumplings are really chewy like real mochi or gummi, but they do stretch way more than ice cubes ;)


I’m glad that this post helped you to find out the name of the dumplings. The texture is almost sensual, don’t you think?


Did it look like one of these ? They are similar sweets but made from kuzu (jicama? Mexican turnip?) starch. The texture is a little different from warabimochi. I’m going to make something similar to the ones in the above linked site, so stay tuned! ;)


Shhhh!!! I would be busted!!!

Big Bok
These are a bit sweeter than ice cubes ;) 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

Bachan! Feel refreshed even by looking at the picture ; )...  

Posted by Glutton-Rabbit

obachan said...

Thanks Glutton-Rabbit,
I'm glad if my post helped to ease the summer heat a little bit ;)