I am always looking for new things to try because I think varying my diet is important. Until about six months ago, I had never heard of mochi. Or at least, I’d never eaten it. I think I’d seen the ice cream at Trader Joe’s. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to try it, and it is fun. A lot of fun.
I like mochi because it’s a nice way to get some brown rice at dinner, but it also can take the place of a roll. Really, it’s like brown rice you eat with your hands. How wonderful is that?
What is mochi?
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into a shape. I buy it in rectangular slabs that I then cut into smaller pieces. What I think is fascinating is the traditional mochi-pounding ceremony called Mochitsuki (this description comes from wikipedia):
- The polished glutinous rice is soaked overnight and cooked.
- The cooked rice is pounded with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu). Two people will alternate the work, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi. They must keep a steady rhythm or they may accidentally injure one another with the heavy kine.
- The sticky mass is then formed into various shapes (usually a sphere or cube).
I don’t know if what I buy at the store is made in that ceremony, but I like to think it is.
When you cook it, it puffs up and becomes wonderfully light and airy inside. It’s such a fun treat! Mochi can be sweet or savory. It’s used as a base in many desserts, even ice cream. I enjoy it with a little honey drizzled over it. But I also like it with butter melting inside.
So if you’ve never had it, I encourage you to go out and try some. Let me know what you think.