Imo mochi (Potato rice cake)

Imo mochi (Potato rice cake) is a local dish in Hokkaido, Wakayama, Kochi and Gifu. However, the ingredients and methods of making differ depending on the region. In Japan, rice cakes are considered auspicious food and are eaten during New Year’s and seasonal changes. In the past, rice was not so harvested in places that were not suitable for rice cultivation. Therefore, potatoes were used as a substitute for rice cakes or to increase the volume. Nowadays it is established as a local dish.

Imo mochi in Hokkaido

Potatoes are used for Imo mochi in Hokkaido. It is made by adding potato starch to steamed and crushed potatoes, kneading well, shaping into dumplings, and baking until brown. It is eaten with sweet and seasoned soy sauce, butter and sugar.
Recently, with the production of frozen Imo mochi, it can be found as a convenient fast food in Hokkaido at souvenir shops and highway service areas. There is also “Cheese Imo mochi” with cheese inside. Imo mochi flour is also commercially available, with variations such as pumpkin flavor. It is also a popular snack for children.


Imo mochi in Wakayama and Kochi

Wakayama and Kochi’s Imo mochi are made using sweet potatoes. It is made by mixing steamed sweet potatoes with regular rice cake and kneading. It is softer and smoother than regular rice cakes. In Wakayama and Kochi, Imo mochi with bean paste is often eaten.

Imo mochi in Gifu

Gifu’s Imo mochi is made from taro. It is made by steamed taro and glutinous rice, crushing and shaping it into a round shape. Then it is baked with sauce made by mixing grated ginger and soy sauce. When baking, it has a fragrant aroma of ginger soy sauce. It can be easily made using a home rice cooker. It is also sold as a special product at local festivals.

How to make Imo mochi

Here is a simple Imo mochi recipe. This is my favorite cheese Imo mochi.

Ingredients
Potatoes: 3 pieces (300g in total)
Milk: 50mL
Potato starch: 3 tablespoons
Salt: 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cheese: 60 g
Salted butter: 10 g

Pick potato sprouts and peel them. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Put it in a heat-resistant bowl, wrap it, heat it for about 5 minutes in a 500W microwave until the potatoes are soft, and mash them before cooling.
Separately, put milk, starch, and salt in a bowl and mix. Add this to the crushed potato in three portions and mix well each time. Mix until smooth and divide into 6 equal parts. Put cheese inside and shape round. Dissolve salted butter in a medium heat frying pan, bake for 4 minutes on each side, and remove from the fire when the whole is browned.
Put it on a plate and add parsley if you like. It is also delicious with ketchup.


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