Mochi (sticky rice cake) is an important food in Japanese culture. This chewy-soft glutinous rice which is pounded into flour (mochi-ko or shiratama-ko), mixed with various ingredients and molded into shapes. Mochi is traditionally eaten during the Japanese New Year, and symbolizes good health and fortune. But its also available on an every-day basis, in a million different forms. Among them:
- Savory versions which are wrapped in nori seaweed and dipped in soy sauce (shoyu)
- Served in soup
- Diced and powered with soy bean flour (Miyako Mochi, Kinako) *sedap gak yang nih*
- Rolled into balls, and stuck on sticks with a soy sauce coating (dango) *yang ni tak sedap sgt, kelat2 muka nak telan huhuhu*
- Sweetened, and wrapped around a filling of sweet 'an' bean paste (manju diafuku) *yang ni paling senang jumpa*
(info gathered from here)
Yesterday 06/12/09, we went to a shrine nearby Maebaru to watch the traditional way of cooking the Mochi. It started early in the morning i.e around 8.30a.m *kira early lah sebab weekend kan masa menqada' tidur huhu*. The weather was a little bit cloudy and cold as it reaches 6 °C, nevertheless it didn't stopped us from enjoying the experience of : "The Making of Mochi".
At first, the mochi rice (glutinous rice) are steamed before being put into a huge stone mortar. After that, the steamed mochi rice (glutinous rice) is pounded hardly by using wooden pestles to make mochi. During this beating and pounding process of hitting the steamed rice, it needs a really tough guy to make sure that the mochi is perfectly pounded in order to gain the hard-in-your-hand yet soft-in-your-mouth taste.
(the process of steaming the rice and transferring it to the stone mortar)
I was also given the chance to beat the steamed mochi rice but I quit only after 6 times of hammering those things as the wooden pestles were waaaaayyy too heavy for me plus I'm not that skillful into beating thingy. Perhaps if this task were given to the bouncer of a club or bar, they'll surely can beat those steamed glutinous rice easily. *daripada belasah orang, baik diorang wat mochi..kenyang gak bila makan ngeeee*.
(A-t-qah tunjuk bakat terpendam selaku kaki pukul)
After the pounding process were done, the hot mochi is removed from the stone mortar to the knead area by hands. Middle-aged women will dust their hands with more katakuri-ko (potato) starch and divide the mochi into pieces by hands. The hot and sticky mochi is knead to make a flat and round mochi. They will put a piece of anko (red beans) filling on a mochi and wrap the anko by stretching those mochi. Those stretched mochi will then be in oval round shape and ready to be eaten.
(proses menguli dan memasukkan inti)
(mochi filled with red beans, pic credit from here)
Some of the fresh mochi can also be dusted with kinako (soy bean flour) known as warabi mochi. This kind of mochi is slightly sweet and have better taste for a Kelantanese like me. The kinako had a wonderful flavor and complimented this mochi very well. I took home few pieces of the mochi for hubby & I but turns out that I am the one who ate all of the mochi by myself *dasar isteri makan tak ingat kat suami..nasib baik hubby tak majuk mcm dlm citer batu belah batu bertangkup* ngeh3x.
(warabi mochi, pic credit from here)
The taste of mochi is quite similar to tepung gomak in Malaysia and the chewy part is a bit similar to the feeling of eating kuih butir nangka *ore Qelate jah yang kenal kuih ni kot*. Fresh mochi is soft, but it hardens quickly. Prepacked mochi blocks, which are flattened and cut into square pieces or shaped into rounds are available at grocery stores *jadi tak payah susah payah nak jadi kaki pukul kalau tiba2 terasa nak makan eheh*. Hard mochi pieces can be grilled, deep-fried, boiled, and more. Cooked mochi is very sticky, so we have to be careful not to choke it. It's important to take a small bite at a time...maknanya makan takleh gelojoh2, baca bismillah dan kunyahlah perlahan2 sampai kenyang hik3x.
(pic credit : from here)
Psssttt: pakcik2 kat shrine ni nak suruh orang malaysia pulak masak untuk diorang kat next event..ajar diorang wat dodol lah plak, baru diorang leh apply skill kaki kacau plak ngeeeeeee.