Thursday, October 17, 2013

30 Things You Should Know and/or Will Love about Japan Series: # 28

#28 Mochi

What is Mochi?
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Mochi is a rice cake made from pounding glutinous rice.  
Maybe this is still not clear if you've never seen it or tasted it.

I love it, but I don't think everyone likes it.  It's super gummy/chewy/elastic.

I've always heard of tales of people choking on it (like here and here), so little kids and the elderly (really everyone) should eat with care.  It can be served many ways, but of course, it is usually served beautifully.

My favorite way to eat mochi is sweet, around a strawberry covered in a layer of bean paste.

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Hopefully we can find these while you are here.  Strawberries are a winter fruit here, so we'll see.

It can be served savory too, like in okonomiyaki or in other dishes.

While it can be made manually like my students following the traditional way to pound mochi here:
Some students pounding rice to make mochi

It's just as easy to buy mochi powder at the store.  I have never attempted to make mochi on my own, because there are so many great places to buy mochi treats, but I think it's fairly easy.

Wagashi is the term for Japanese sweets, usually served during a Japanese tea ceremony.  It usually contains mochi and they are beautiful pieces of art.  There is so much information on wagashi and mochi, so investigate some more if you are interested.

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