Hello, everyone. Have you ever heard mochitsuki? Mochitsuki is one of New Year’s events in Japan.
It’s not as common as it used to be since there are just so many other things to do during the year end and New Year’s holidays. But, it’s still customary to get together with family and make rice cakes around December 28th .
Many Japanese people eat rice on a daily basis (although many others nowadays eat bread as well), but it’s customary to eat osechi and rice cakes (mochi) during New Year’s holidays. That’s why we make mochi at the end of the year.
Let me briefly explain how to make mochi.
Usu and Kine
The tools that we use are usu, kine, and seiro. The ingredients are glutinous rice, water and rice powder.
The type of rice used for mochi is different from the rice we normally eat. This glutinous rice for mochi needs to be soaked in water for several hours before cooking.
In order to make mochi, you first need to steam glutinous rice that has been soaked for several hours. Transfer the steamed rice into an usu, then use a kine to hammer the rice. In order to do this, you need someone else to add a little bit of water on the rice while the kine user is not hitting the rice. This repetition, the kine hammering and adding the water, slowly forms the rice from just warm lump of rice to mochi.
The final step is to tear the mochi into small pieces.
Nowadays, with people working during the New Year’s holidays, we hardly see families making mochi at home. We can buy mochi at grocery from beginning from December to early January, even in grocery stores abroad. But, when you come to come, do try mochi made authentically like above. It’s chewy and very delicious.