Japanese people eat a type of chewy textured, bland rice cake to celebrate New Year called Mochi. It is prepared by pounding and molding glutinous rice into shape.
In fact, there is even a special ceremony to prepare mochi which is known as mochitsuki. Formerly, mochi was prepared as a special New Year celebratory dish for the members of the upper crust. However, today these rice cakes are consumed by the masses through out the year.
The rice cake mochi is considered a delicacy in Japanese cuisine. A special kind of glutinous rice called mochigome is pounded on a stone mortar called ‘usu’ using a wooden mallet or ‘kine’ to form a lumpy, gelatinous paste. This glutinous paste is extracted from the stone mortar and molded into cakes and balls. Besides the Japanese, the Koreans, Taiwanese, Indonesians, Hawaiians, Thai’s and even Cambodians eat this popular rice snack.
Types of Mochi
Mochi falls under the category of ‘wagashi’ or beautifully crafted sweet meats. A tremendous amount of skill and patience is required to craft these type of sweets. Making mochi is actually a culinary art that has been perfected over the centuries.
Some of the popular types of mochis include ichigo daifuku, sakura mochi and daifuku mochi. Daifuku mochi is the simplest version of this traditional dish which is prepared with glutinous rice enclosing a sweet creamy filling prepared from adzuki beans. Cherry blossom scented mochi is called sakura mochi. A luscious strawberry enclosed in a glutinous rice ball is called ichigo daifuku.
Kinako mochi and kagami mochi are other variants of this popular sweet meat.
Popular Uses of Mochi
Mochi can be eaten as a sweet meat, as an ice cream or even used as dumplings in soup.
Mochi can be served with different kinds of fresh fruits or even a cup of freshly brewed green tea.
Mochiko Box – 1lb
Sugar – 2 ½ cups
Baking Powder – 1 tsp
Water – 2 cups
Coconut Milk- 1 can
Vanilla Essence – 1tsp
Take a fairly large sized glass bowl. Into the bowl add the contents of one box of mochiko powder. Next add two and a half cups of sugar and one teaspoon of baking powder. Use a dry teaspoon to combine the dry ingredients thoroughly.
To the dry ingredients add two cups of water, the contents of one can of coconut milk and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Now combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a smooth mix. You can either combine the ingredients by hand of for better result you can even use a hand held electric mixer. Take a large 9 X 13 inch baking tray. Drop a tiny dollop of butter onto the baking tray and grease the pan thoroughly. You can also use butter paper to line the baking tray.
Now pour the contents of the glass bowl onto the greased baking tray. Spread the mixture evenly on the tray. Cover the baking tray with a strip of aluminum foil. Place the baking tray inside a preheated oven and bake the mochi mix at 350 degree celsius for about an hour. After the mochi is done, remove the tray from the oven. Allow the mochi to cool down before cutting it into equal sized cubes. Dust mochis with some corn starch.