As I've been slowly making my way through our stuff and deciding what to keep and pack, what to try to sell, and what to just throw away, I encountered the neglected electric waffle/panini maker in the depths of a kitchen cabinet. I can't even remember the last time I used it. I do remember that we got it for free, via a buyer's incentive scheme sort of like frequent flyer miles, run by one of our local supermarket chains (it's Coop Supercard, for people living in Switzerland). I think I've used it about 5, 6 times tops, all but one of those times to make panini. I'm just not a waffle person I guess.

So, as I pondered whether I was going to get rid of the waffle maker at the garage sale coming up next week or just dump it, an idea popped into my head. Why not try to make moffles with it? Moffles (pronounced moffuru) are a Japanese invention, which have been popular for a couple of years. They are basically mochi cakes cooked in a waffle-maker like contraption called, of course, a moffle maker.

Apparently the moffle was the brainchild of an employee of an electric appliance maker who was giving an instore demo of a regular waffle maker. She overheard a customer saying "If you could use that thing for cooking mochi, it might actually be useful" or words to that effect. Back at the office, she tried cooking mochi in the waffle iron and found it surprisingly easy. Thus, the moffle was born.

So, here is how I went about making moffles in a regular electric waffle maker. (A moffle maker has shallower, round dimples rather than the deep square ones in a waffle maker.) Incidentally, my waffle maker is from Tefal. It's a clamshell type, has a simple dial-timer, detachable plates for making waffles or panini, and annoyingly switches on as soon as it's plugged in.

Recipe: Moffle or moffuru (モッフル)

First, brush the surface of the waffle iron plates with a little melted butter or oil as they heat up. The mochi can stick a bit (especially on the square edges of the waffle plate) and this is to prevent that as well as to add a bit of flavor.


Place one square mochi cake on each plate.


Now lower the lid and press gently. The lid will not close, due to the thickness of the mochi, but as you keep pressing gently the mochi will soften and spread, becoming thinner, until you can close the lid completely. As soon as you can, set the timer to 2 minutes or so, more if you want it really crispy and a bit toasted on the outside.


And when the time's up: Voilà, moffles!


Moffles are often filled with something savory or sweet. Here I've kept it simple and put some sliced cheese on one of the moffles.


I then put the other moffle on top, and closed the waffle maker lid again for about a minute or so. This produces a grilled cheese moffle sandwich. This is how it looks like when it's done...


Here's a plate of grilled cheese moffle, cut into quarters. The yellowness of the cheese can be seen through the translucent white moffle.


To make thinner, smaller and crispier moffles, you can slice a mochi cake horizontally in half (you can do this easily with a just-opened fresh mochi cake, using a sharp knife. In Japan, thinly sliced mochi called shabu-shabu mochi are often used). Once you can close the lid, which should be just about immediately, set the timer to 2 minutes.


You can eat the moffles singly with just a little soy sauce instead of filling them. I like them best like this I think. They should go well with anything that goes with regular grilled mochi cakes, like kinako (toasted ground soybean powder) mixed with sugar, or grated daikon radish and soy sauce.


You can also treat them as you would regular waffles, and put on syrup, melted butter, chocolate sauce, etc. as you prefer. However, they are not like flour-and-egg waffles - they are like thin mochi cakes, crispy-chewy on the outside, gooey on the inside, and bland. If you like mochi, you'll love moffles. And of course they are gluten-free, since they're made of pounded rice.

They are not low in calories, but they are very filling. One cheese filled moffle using 2 mochi cakes and 30g of cheese is about 400 calories, but half of one is plenty for a snack. They must be eaten freshly cooked and hot, since they turn hard when cool. They are not suitable for bentos.

The best thing is that they cook up so fast, and are very filling - great for snacks. I think I will keep the waffle maker after all.

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