Vegan cheeses don’t taste good. As of 2017 that was my opinion. Most consumer vegan cheeses tasted like fake popcorn butter and could only mimic the texture of melted Kraft singles at best. In 2018, I had my first taste of ‘mochi cheese’ at a Korean dessert shop in Thailand. It was a revelation. Although, the taste was fairly bland the texture was pretty spot on - well it was really good. It stretched like real mozzarella and for me that was enough. I could flavor the cheese as I wanted, but you’ll be surprised at how much an item can taste like another just from a similarity in texture. And with mozzarella where the taste was not too strong anyway, it could be covered with the other flavors I use the cheese with.

I began to look around for mochi cheese recipes, but there wasn’t much. Peaceful cuisine did one that resembled more of a hard cheese and when I tried it, it wasn’t really the texture or taste that I was looking for. It took a couple trials, but I finally settled on simple nutritional yeast and lemon juice to get my cheese-y fix. For sure, people can amp it up as much as they want, but lately, I’ve been wanting most of my recipes to be accessible and these work for me. I think it’s one of the best stretching cheeses I’ve tasted, so I’m very excited to share the recipe.

MOCHI CHEESE - VEGAN MOZZARELLA

(Makes 1 tub)

  • 100g kirimochi cakes, about 2 pieces rice cakes
  • 3/4 teaspoons (3g) agar powder
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soy or non-dairy milk (240 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • herbs or additional flavorings, optional

Directions

  1. Using a knife, cut the kirimochi into small pieces and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine the agar, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk, vegetable oil, lemon juice and white miso until mixed through.
  4. Pour the liquids into the agar mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into a pot and put in the kirimochi pieces.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil and lower the heat to medium. Cover the pot and cook while stirring often until the kirimochi pieces have melted.
  6. Pour the mixture into a greased container. Place into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until set.