Okaki are crunchy rice crackers made from sweet glutinous rice, the same variety of rice that is used to make chewy mochi treats. While packaged okaki can be purchased in Asian grocery stores, the homemade version is lighter, fresher, and can be enjoyed while still warm.
To make okaki at home, you need kirimochi (rectangular rice cake). Kirimochi can be found in most Japanese grocery stores and is sold in large, hard blocks. When heated, kirimochi puffs up, softens, and becomes stretchy and pliable. Kirimochi can be prepared using a variety of cooking methods including toasting, baking, grilling (yakimochi), microwaving, frying, or boiling. In this okaki recipe, we use the baking method.
Cut your kirimochi into small, bite-sized pieces. We cut our kirimochi into 1cm cubes, but you can also cut them into strips or punch out small circles or decorative shapes - whatever suits your fancy! Bake the kirimochi on a parchment paper-lined tray for 15 minutes at 180°C/356°F. In the meantime, prepare a glaze of soy sauce, sugar, and water. Remove the hot kirimochi pieces from the oven and toss them in the glaze until well-coated. Then, place them back on the tray and bake for another 5 minutes at 150°C/302°F. Turn off the oven and let sit for another 5 mins. During this time, the kirimochi will dry out and take on a crunchy texture, while the glaze will caramelize and harden to create a thin sweet and savory coating.
Serve okaki fresh out of the oven, or cool completely and store in an air-tight container.
- 2 mochi (cut into 1cm cubes)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- ½ tbsp water
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/356°F. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Spread the cut pieces of mochi on the baking tray. The mochi will expand once cooked and will stick to each other if placed too close to one another. Bake in the oven for 15 mins.
- While baking, mix the soy sauce, sugar and water in a bowl.
- Remove the mochi from the oven, place in the bowl from step 3 and coat thoroughly with the sauce.
- Strain the excess sauce from the mochi, place back on the baking tray, and bake for 5 more mins at 150°C/302°F. Turn off the oven and let sit for another 5 mins. Serve hot and crunchy!
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.