I cannot take full credit for this glorious gluten-free-vegan brunch creation – many thanks go to Rae and Robbie for playing in the kitchen with me while I was paying Cincinnati a holiday visit. Armed with nothing but a waffle maker, frying pan and one spatula, we set out to coax tempeh into something that slightly resembled bacon and form gluten-free waffles from mochi. And the results were deliciously delicious!
And yes, I truly mean that grammatically incorrect tasty bit of hyperbole. They were dusty delicious. They were amazing. They were phe-nom-en-al.
I’ve heard that in Japan they’re starting to use the term “moffle” to refer to mochi waffles. I’ve never been a fan of Branjelina or romcoms, so I’ll take the extra sixteenth of a second to continue to type the two words out.
What is Mochi? Mochi is glutinous sweet rice that is pounded into a paste and molded into a hard shape. Many Japanese traditional desserts utilize mochi is a base ingredient, and when dyed with bright greens and pinks add a bit of festivity to the simple dessert.
I am not a particular fan of those forms of mochi, but LOVE the bricks you can buy and cook yourself. When mochi bakes it fills with air creating a beautiful crusty exterior that houses chewy goodness. I love to toast it, slice it and fill it with almond butter. Friends drop it into soup or grill it and douse it with tamari for a savory treat.
Nutritionally, plain mochi is made only with sweet rice and filtered water, making it easily digestible and naturally low in fat and calories. Despite being “glutinous”, mochi is GLUTEN-FREE, the term instead referring to it being “sticky”.
Keep in mind that mochi waffles are not light and fluffy like wheat waffles, so indulge in a little creativity with your toppings. We went fairly simple with real maple syrup and brown rice syrup, plus some fresh black and blueberries. Nut butters add some protein (if you’re not accompanying your waffles with tempeh bacon), and provide a creamy kick.
Ingredients / Directions
- Choose your mochi. Grainassance brand is sold at most health food stores in several flavors, most commonly plain and cinnamon raisin. Either make great mochi waffles.
- Cut mochi into 16 pieces.
- Spray waffle maker with non-stick cooking spray, or grease with butter or oil.
- For square waffles such as in the picture above, use 4 pieces of mochi evenly spaced.
- Close griddle and bake for approximately 4-6 minutes, until mochi is puffed and steamy.
- Serve immediately.
Rae is vegan and while I love tempeh I also love the crap out of meat, so it was an exciting challenge she gave me in making tempeh taste like bacon. Especially as we were dining in “Porkopolis”, the nickname lovingly given to Cincinnati for the copious amount of pork bred and consumed there.
While I was unsure of succeeding in this task, especially in someone else’s kitchen, we were all pretty satisfied with the results. I tried to encapsulate the sweet and smokey aspects of bacon. And, once again, the recipe is shockingly easy.
Note: make sure both your tempeh and tamari are marked gluten-free if you follow such a diet. Many tempeh’s are bulked up with grains to increase the flavor and nutritional content and therefore are not guaranteed to be free of gluten. And while tamari is noted for being the gluten-free version of soy sauce, some versions do contain gluten.
Ingredients / Directions:
- Pick up one brick of tempeh, cut into 8 strips and place in a medium bowl.
- Pour 1/3 a cup of tamari and 1/4 cup maple syrup over tempeh, toss to marinate and let sit for about a half hour.
- Set a medium frying pan on medium-high heat and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- When hot, place tempeh in pan, reserving liquid to baste.
- Cook thoroughly, turning tempeh in quarter turns until all sides are brown, basting with reserved liquid with ever turn.
- Taste sauce and adjust syrup and tamari as needed.
- Tempeh is ready when the liquid has caramelized and tempeh is dark.