do you mochi?

we japanese eat a lot of mochi around the new year. my parents have a mochi-making machine (not the same kind as shown in the picture in the wiki entry) and they make a lot of mochi at the end of the year, for eating and for decoarting. for some people (like rupert) mochi is an aquired taste, probably because it doesn't really have a lot of taste on its own and it's very glutinous. but it can be very tasty if you eat it with "toppings," which can range from sweet (red bean) to savory (shoyu, soy sauce, and nori, seaweed). also, if you grill it the mochi aquires a very toasty, fragrant crust that's delicious even without any toppings.
we were invited to a mochi-tsuki taikai (mochi pounding ceremony) today by a japanese friend. well, actually, she's the wife of rupert's boss ... but a potential future friend. ian's familiar with the machine-made mochi but he's never seen the traditional way of making mochi, which uses something similar to a mortar and mallet. special mochi rice is steamed and placed in the mortar (usu) and pounded with the mallet (kine). ian even got to pound some rice with a mini kine.
you have to be very careful when eating mochi because it can easily get lodged in your throat if you take too big of a bite or don't chew it thoroughly. every year people die from choking on mochi. so we were cautious when feeding maya the mochi, but she liked it enough to eat it with red bean (azuki) and (kinako).

ian prefered his mochi with a sugar and ground black sesame mixture.

No comments: