Isobeyaki Japanese Rice Cake Recipe

Pan Fried Rice Cake in Olive Oil and Soy Sauce (Isobeyaki). Photo Credit: © Judy Ung
  • 7 mins
  • Prep: 2 mins,
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings (serves 2)
Ratings (5)

Japanese mochi, or rice cake, is a favorite food especially during the winter or cold months. You'll often find various savory mochi dishes in a stew, soup, or as a snack or side dish.

A very popular style of enjoying Japanese mochi is known as "isobeyaki." It generally involves seasoning warmed, toasted, or grilled mochi with soy sauce and then enjoying it wrapped with a piece of dried seasoned seaweed (ajinori).

What You'll Need

  • 2 pieces of mochi (fresh or frozen Japanese rice cake; may be substituted with kiri mochi, dried shelf stable packaged mochi)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Optional: seaweed (ajinori, seasoned dried)

How to Make It

  1.  In a small pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. When olive oil is near its smoke point, add frozen or fresh mochi (rice cake) to the pan.
    Note: There is no need to first defrost the frozen mochi before cooking. It may be cooked directly from its frozen state.
  3. Pan fry the mochi on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes. The center of the mochi will become chewy and pliable, while the outside of the mochi becomes crisp and golden brown.
    Note: Feel free to cook the mochi for longer than 2 to 3 minutes until the mochi reaches your desired color of readiness.
  1. Immediately serve pan fried rice cakes on a plate, and drizzle with soy sauce to taste.
  2. Optionally, for a more traditional "isobeyaki" style mochi dish, wrap the mochi drizzled with soy sauce with a piece of dried seasoned seaweed (ajinori). Enjoy immediately.

An alternative to this savory isobeyaki mochi dish is to pair it with a simple teriyaki inspired sweet and savory soy sauce. By simple teriyaki sauce, we mean a quick mixture of equal parts soy sauce and granulated white sugar. This sweet glaze is drizzled over the cooked mochi and then wrapped in ajinori for a sweet isobeyaki dish. 

The isobeyaki recipe featured in this article strays from the traditional isobeyaki in that the mochi is not warmed, toasted, or grilled, but rather, the mochi is pan fried in olive oil. Pan frying creates a soft, pliable, chewy center and a crisp and addicting crunchy exterior. The mochi cooks very quickly to create a golden brown crust but may be cooked for longer until the desired color of doneness is reached. 

After the mochi pan fried, drizzle with soy sauce and enjoy immediately. Alternatively, wrap the soy sauce seasoned mochi with a piece of crisp seasoned dried seaweed (ajinori). For variation, try a sweet version of this dish by mixing equal parts of granulated white sugar and soy sauce to make a quick sauce and drizzle over pan-fried mochi instead of soy sauce.