In this special mochitsuki 餅搗き edition of The Mochi Diaries im going to go down a path a little different from the norm, welcome to Chapter 9 of The Mochi Diaries- Mochitsuki Special Edition 餅搗き増刊.
Last weekend my base chuugakkou 中学校 (Junior Highschool) had their annual mochitsukui no hi 持ち搗きの日 (Mochi making day), obviously due to my grand affinity for mochi such an event had me excited from the moment I heard about its existence!
An annual tradition across Japan, making mochi is a traditional part of the shogatsu 正月 (New years) celebration. Mochi is an essential food around the end of the year with it being included in several Osechi-ryōri 御節料理 (Traditional Japanese New Year foods) including zōni お雑煮 (Clear savoury Japanese soup containing mochi), Kagami mochi 鏡餅 (literally mirror rice cake, a new years decoration) and shiruko 汁粉 (Sweet red bean soup with mochi).
Boiled sticky rice 餅米 (mochigome) is placed into a stone concave container and patted with water whilst being flipped by one person while another beats the dough with a large wooden mallet.
At my school, each class and year level had a turn throughout the day at pounding their own mochi with members I the local community.
Once the pounding was complete the dough is moved to a rice flour covered table where the students shape and package their mochi to take home.
I received my own box to take home and rather than just eating them as is I though I might show you just how versatile a food these sticky balls of joy in fact are!!
The first piece I put in zenzai 善哉 (sweet red bean soup) which I made using by adding a little milk to some anko and heating it up.
The other piece I placed on some foil and baked at 170degrees for about 20minutes. When subjected to heat the mochi grows up like a crispy mushroom whilst the bottom half retains the sticky mochi texture anchoring it.
I filled the bottom with the anko paste and used the kinako powder to dust the outside, really my own creation of my imagination, I shall call ‘yaita kinako kinoko mochi’ 焼いた黄粉茸餅 (baked soybean mushroom mochi)!
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