The moffle is a Japanese snack that's exactly what the portmanteau word adds up to—mochi plus waffle. Cubes of mochi (glutinous rice that's been pounded into a paste) are plopped into a waffle iron (or custom moffle irons in Japan). Panini presses apparently work or—just entertain the idea for a second—a George Foreman grill? The cubes flatten and grow waffle grooves and have a warm chewiness that's somewhere between a bread and a goo.
Moffles have one of those textures where you have to chew the for length of the alphabet. They aren't the most flavorful thing in the world—I mean, it's rice paste—but part of the fun is jazzing up the crunchy surface with toppings, whether sweet or savory.
When my friend Sophia said she was hosting a moffle brunch recently, I was so moffin' excited. After the jump, how we made moffles.
1. Get a block of mochi, available at most Whole Foods, health stores, and Asian markets. We used the "original" brown rice flavor from Grainassance and were pleased. The brand also makes some pretty alternative mochi flavors: raisin-cinnamon, cashew-date, sesame-garlic, super seed (hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and sunflower seeds), and chocolate brownie.
2. We cut each 12.5-ounce block into 16 squares (4x4). Chop chop chop.
3. Spray the griddles with a little Pam or other oil first, then in they go. We stuffed 2 to 3 squares in every quarter of the griddle, giving some breathing room between each. You could also cut bigger blocks of mochi and cook less at a time (depending on the griddle shape).
4. Close the lid gently, and don't worry if it doesn't shut all the way—the mochi gets less unwieldy as it melts. Cook for about four minutes.
5. A platter of moffle pieces. We went for the smaller, ripped-apart approach so people could graze.
6. Sophia had a super sophisticated and tasty spread of moffle accouterments.
From top left, going clockwise: crumbled halva, pistachio bits, and good dark chocolate; Nutella, pomegranate molasses (in an eye dropper, because that stuff gets your attention!), and warm cajeta (a caramelized milk syrup) in the white cup; lemon wedges and powdered sugar (my favorite); and tofu green tea (matcha powder plus soft tofu), and black sesame tahini.
She also had savory options: ham and cheese slices. And, to give proper respect to waffles, she pulled out the maple syrup.
If you cut the mochi cube at the belly, for a thinner piece, you can sandwichify the moffle. Cook them as explained above, top with a slice of cheese or ham or another topping once done, then top with another cooked moffle, then let it ooze under the griddle for a minute or so.
A Little Back Story
As we covered last year, the Japanese company Sanyei was conducting a sales demo for one of their waffle irons in 1999, minding their own business, when someone watching said, “It would be nice if we could toast mochi with it.” They received a trademark in 2000.
In late 2006 and early 2007, the moffle started garnering more international buzz. The moffle makes it big! Do a little moffle dance.
More cafes in Japan start ordering moffle irons (apparently they get hotter than normal waffle irons) and experiment with toppings, ranging from "mentaiko," a cod roe moffle, to pumpkin and chocolate.