The wonderful thing about mochi is that you can put anything inside. If you need some inspiration you can go with chocolate ganache, ice cream, fruits, peanut butter, crushed cookies, jam, sweet bean/seed pastes, and even savory things. The only caveat is that you probably want whatever you are making to look good, so I would stick to foods that you know will keep the shape you want.
Red Bean Paste and Black Sesame Paste – you can get right out of a can (or make it yourself)
Sesame Peanut Butter – I didn’t have sesame paste in my house so I crushed sesame by hand with a mortar pestle and mixed it with peanut butter. I used about equal parts of both because I didn’t want a very sweet mochi (with too much peanut butter), and when you use more sesame it keeps it’s shape better.
Chocolate Ganache AKA Chocolate Truffles- It’s pretty straightforward to make a simple chocolate truffle; it is so simple that you’ll possibly not buy one ever again. You have two basic ingredients: chocolate and milk.
I love food and am ready to fork up my hard earned money on crazy meals that blow my mind, but feel really uncomfortable paying a premium for things that I know I can easily make very cheaply and easily. Caracas is one of my favorite restaurants, yet every time I pay 8-9 dollars on an arepas and eat a ton of them, I feel a lot of guilt.
So I decided to make my own!
At first it was a bit tricky sourcing the masarepa flour. Of course I was being stingy and tried to find it in the Wal Mart in Clifton, but mistakenly bought the wrong one and was severely disappointed when the corn flour didn’t stick to make a dough! It has to be masarepa flour! hehe (duh on me) because it is precooked.
I finally got a pack that makes 24 arepas from my upstate Wal-Mart for .38, but you can definitely find it somewhere in the city.
First step, just mix up the flour with hot water (the instructions will be on your masarepa flour bag) and it will look like this:
Next I would start prepping what you want to put inside the arepa. I sauteed some bananas (since I didn’t have sweet plantains), then mushrooms and onions, and cut up some mozzarella, scallions, and onions. I also prepped some fresh salsa with cara cara oranges, tomatoes, balsamic, olive oil, onions, scallions, and cilantro, and also some vinegar with pureed raw onions, and sugar as a side sauce. It sounds like a lot of work, but that’s because I made a ton of different stuffings!
After the stuffings are prepped, heat up a large pan with oil. You want a large pan to make sure you can cook a few of the shells at the same time. I read a few recipes with butter and tried it, but butter burns a lot faster than oil… so it was more difficult! Basically you press the dough into a flat patty the size and thickness you want your arepas. If they are too think it’ll take too long to cook them through, and if you don’t cook them through you won’t be able to cut them open.