Tonari chef Mary Mendoza shares recipe for yummy 3-ingredient chocolate dessert

As Valentine’s Day approaches, WTOP asked local chefs to share their favorite quick and easy recipes that readers can learn and cook for their friends and significant others. Tonari Chef Mary Mendoza demonstrated how to make nama chocolate and rice pudding with caviar.

Nama chocolate is a kind of Japanese truffle. The recipe only requires three ingredients, but Mendoza says that “the world is your oyster” when it comes to this dish, as home cooks can add optional matcha powder or strawberry powder instead of cocoa powder when finishing it.

To see a demonstration of how to make nama chocolate, check out the video above, filmed at Tonari.

Mendoza also demonstrated how to make another tasty dessert — rice pudding. But this approachable and easy treat has a twist: It’s finished with grated white chocolate and hazelnuts, with a dollop of caviar on top to add a fatty, salty, briny finish.

“Rice is life,” said Mendoza, who added that she feels rice gets pushed aside too often. This inspired her to create a dessert that highlights the fluffy, soft grain.

Alas, the rice pudding recipe for Hole in the Wall is proprietary and was not provided to WTOP, but you can use any rice pudding recipe or you can buy pre-made rice pudding.

See the above video, as well, for more step-by-step instructions on how to recreate the delicious rice pudding dessert.

Tonari is a Wafu Italian restaurant, which means Japanese-style Italian. “We want to take Italian dishes and cook them with Japanese sensibility,” Mendoza said.

Here is the recipe for nama chocolate. Enjoy!

Nama Chocolate

By Hole in the Wall/Tonari chef Mary Mendoza
  • 340 grams dark chocolate, chopped, even sizes (any would do as long as it’s above 67%; no lecithin)
  • 355 grams heavy cream (at least 36% fat)
  • 28 grams butter
  1. Weigh out all ingredients. Line your pan with parchment. Make sure the edges are also lined for easy handling.
  2. Combine butter and chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. 
  3. Heat heavy cream to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. The cream is ready once you see tiny bubbles around the edges. 
  4. Pour the hot heavy cream into chocolate-butter mixture. Let it stand, unperturbed for 4-5 minutes. 
  5. After, mix all ingredients with a rubber spatula until smooth and homogenized. Tap the pan on the counter to remove excess air bubbles.
  6. Allow the chocolate in the fridge for at least two hours before cutting.
  7. Cut the chocolate with a sharp, warm knife to your desired size or shape. 
  8. Coat the truffles with cocoa powder or any powder of your choice such a matcha or strawberry.
  9. Serve at room temperature. 
Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of “D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for 'Artsplained' on YouTube.

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