Trader Joe’s 12 Mushroom Mochi Potsticker DumplingsPosted: April 1, 2014 Filed under: Frozen Food, Mushrooms, Trader Joe's Brand | Tags: chinese dumplings, chinese food, japanese food, mochi, mushroom, mushroom dumplings, potstickers, Trader Joe's 4 Comments
Trader Joe’s you simply never cease to amaze me. Although we may fight from time to time, such as when you mix kale and soybeans, you never fail to bounce right back and deliver something both shockingly clever or shockingly tasty. In this case, Trader Joe’s 12 Mushroom Mochi Pot Sticker Dumplings is both.
What Trader Joe’s has done here is something unprecedented, bold and iconoclastic. They’ve taken an ordinary mushroom dumpling, a classic of Chinese cuisine, and remade it with a touch of a Japanese style. Chinese dumplings, classic potstickers, are traditionally made with thin, translucent wrappings made of flour and water. Trader Joe’s has kept the interior stuffing, but replaced the exterior wrapping with the marvelously soft, chewy and malleable mochi.
For those of you know don’t know, and I hope that is very few of you, mochi is a type of dough made by pulverizing cooked rice over and over until, taffy like, it melds into a sticky, chewy, gooey blob. It’s a food that’s long been an integral part of Japanese cuisine – sometimes eaten by itself, sometimes as the delicious delivery system for a lump of sweet bean paste, sometimes (and most commonly in the States) as the elastic casing for a ball of ice cream.
What Trader Joe’s has ingeniously done is to divorce the mochi of it’s sweet innards and replace them with a savory mushroom filling. The result is a dumpling unlike any you’ve ever tasted. In fact, the pairing is so unorthodox that I don’t blame TJ’s for giving them such a long and unwieldy moniker as “Mochi Potsticker Dumplings”. There’s simply no easy description for such a unique dish.
The result of this combination the best of both worlds – a lovely, chewy yielding exterior that gives way to a traditionally Chinese mushroom center, a mixture of Wood Ear and Shiitake mushrooms, carrots, bamboo shoots, and oyster sauce. The mushroom filling is loose, and relatively small in comparison with the thick mochi walls, but still full of savory flavor and entirely tender.
A quick trip to the microwave renders each little mochi dumpling wonderfully warm and soft. Sitting down and eating these little, pale orbs of pert dough is a tactile pleasure as much as a culinary one. The mochi extends and snaps with just the right viscoelastic properties – a delight of texture, taste and tensile strength.
We’ve talked before about TJ’s tendency to append weirdly specific numerals to to the front of their products, so I won’t get into it again here. I’m pretty much against it in every case, except where the number can only be expressed in scientific notation. However, these mushroom mochi are so delightful that they rise far above their mundane numbering. Simply put, if you’re looking for an elegant and intriguing Asian side, these mushroom mochi dumplings won’t disappoint.
Would I Recommend Them: Yes, to explore the intriguing recipie if nothing else.
Would I Buy Them Again: Yes, this is some of the best mochi I’ve had in years.
Final Synopsis: A hybrid Japense-Chinese dumpling that satisfies the senses.
Hi there! I just found your blog today, and am cracking up. Also, I agree with you about the guacamame, which I’m currently eating at work — so mediocre.
I’m curious about these dumplings: are they vegetarian? I know you wrote “oyster sauce”, but sometimes (especially in cheaper versions) the oyster sauce is actually made from mushrooms and other vegetarian ingredients. Can you tell from the package whether these contain real, fish-based oyster sauce, or if it is a vegetarian dish?
Thank you!! They sound amazing.
They actually have oyster in them so no, not vegetarian. But do not be too sad about missing out on them. I tried them today and they are awful! I threw a few in the microwave and it smelled like I was heating up cat pee. I almost didn’t want to try them because of the smell but did take one bite and immediately spit it out and threw them away. I had to light a candle to get the smell out of my kitchen. Trader Joe’s, l love you and your food but what were you thinking with these?
LOL I am so happy someone else agrees with me! I love mushrooms but the taste of these mocha was horrifying at best. I pan fried them per the box directions and they looked lovely but boy was I wrong. I think I told my husband they tasted like really stinky feet. I, too, spit out the bite I took while my husband choked it down. Needless to say we threw the rest out. Super disappointing!
The stinky smell is fermented bamboo shoots. But fear not, I was told that TJ’s has discontinued this item. They should re-introduce them without fermenting the bamboo shoots and making them 100% vegetarian.