When new year comes, Japanese people cook rice cake (Mochi). My family pounded Mochi in new year 2016.
How to Make Rice Cake
The mothod is very simple. 🙂
Wash glutinous rice and put it in water for 2 hours. Put hot water into the stone mill and dip the wooden hammer so that glutinous rice cake doesn’t stick to it.
Steam the glutinous rice with strong fire for 1 hour.
Put the rice in to the stone mill. One person hit the rice with the stone hammer while another turns over the rice rice.
The pounding needs lots of strength and my arms were painful during new year because of mustle acke.
Traditional Mochi Pounding
As you watch in the following video, we pounded rice cake on 2015 December 30th. Recently many Japanese people cook rice cake by machine, but our family (Ibusuki City, Japan) makes them by ourselves with a wooden hammer and a stone mill. Hand-made mochi is much more chewy and sweeter than machine-made one.
The hand-made mochi retains their shape while machine-made mochi easily melt in soup such as Zoni or Zenzai.
My family pounds Mochi at the following video. They are pounding the steamed rice to death. (4 times faster than normal speed).
We made following Kagami-Mochi as you see in the following picture. This is the traditional object which Japanese people decorate in their room during new year. “Kagami” means “Mirror”.
Small orange is put on the top. Isn’t it cute? The Kagami-mochi is believed to be the object representative of the new year’s God. My parents gave us other mochi and my wife and I decorated our Kagami-mochi at our house (Kagoshima City). My wife has more artistic sense than I in decorating new year items including Kagami-mochi. 🙂
Usually Japanese people cut Kagami-mochi into pieces and put them in various foods after new year season ends. Strictly speaking they cut the Kagami-mochi on 12th or 20th day of January (The day is called “Kagami-biraki” or cutting-Kagami-mochi day). We put Kagami-mochi in the Japanese Suimono soup (following picture).
It is believed that and it is believe to be full of positive energy since the mochi is the object representative of the God during new year.