All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Goheimochi / grilled rice cakes with sweetened perilla seed, walnut and red miso sauce

A regional favorite snack from the Takayama and Gokayama areas in Gifu and Toyama prefectures. Simple rice cakes made by pounding regular steamed rice are grilled and brushed with sweet, nutty sauce. Goheimochi stalls are found here and there in and around these tourist destination towns in the mountains. I almost always had one every time I visited these areas -- it tasted so good in the open air with majestic mountains and rivers in the background or while browsing streets and alleys surrounded by wooden buildings hundreds of years old.


For goheimochi rice cakes (not in photo)
(makes 4 small cakes)
1 180 cc* cups of rice
Approx. 190 cc water
*1 rice cooker cup = 180 cc

For goheimochi sauce (photo above)
(enough for 8 goheimochi cakes) 
3 tbsp egoma perilla seeds
6 (approx. 25 g) walnut halves
1 tbsp red miso
3 tbsp turbinado sugar
3 tbsp sake
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce

Cook rice as usual, but with slightly less water.


Meanwhile, make goheimochi sauce.
In a frying pan, roast perilla seeds without oil on low heat until several seeds start to make a popping sound.
Transfer to a suribachi mortar, and grind until smooth.

In the same frying pan, roast walnuts without oil on low heat until toasty. 

Transfer to suribachi, and  grind coarsely while breaking walnuts into small pieces.


Transfer perilla seeds and walnuts to the frying pan, add all the remaining ingredients, and mix well.

Simmer on low heat while stirring often until sauce thickens somewhat.
Sauce is ready.
Remove from heat.


When rice is done, pound with a moistened surikogi pestle to the point where rice grains have broken down almost completely (70-80%); the mass of rice should stick to the pestle when you lift it.


Roughly divide rice into 4 portions (desired number of cakes).

With moistened hands, form each portion into a flat oval shape, put a wooden stick in the center, and squeeze tightly. 

Let sit uncovered for 20 minutes or so to dry surface slightly, or in hot climates, chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes


Grill mochi on low heat until surface becomes dry and faintly colored.

Put sauce on both sides, and grill until sauce starts to bubble.  

  • If turbinado is not available, brown sugar is a good substitute. Turbinado gives a much deeper taste and is more aromatic.
  • Egoma perilla seeds are a regional ingredient in Japan. In the US, the seeds are often called "wild sesame seeds" and are commonly available at the sesame seed section at Korean grocery stores. 
  • Goheimochi sauce keeps in the fridge for one month.
  • Goheimochi sauce can be used as a sweet dengaku sauce for grilled vegetables (nasu eggplant, satoimo baby taro root) and tofu as well as for boiled konnyaku yam cake. If too sweet, add more red miso. It can also be used in a similar way as gomaae sesame dressing. Dilute with dashi as necessary.
  • Regional goheimochi variations (mainly mochi shape and sauce) are found in central Japan, which includes Aichi and Nagano prefectures.
  • "Gohei" in goheimochi is said to derive from a shrine offering called gohei (folded white paper hung like a ribbon), due to the similar shape. Goheimochi in Takayma is usually a large oval shape (much larger than the above recipe example), yet in some regions goheimochi comes as multiple rounds on single stick and the shape does indeed look similar to shrine gohei

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