Mochi! Mochi! Mochi!
My family held our annual mochi making day last Saturday. This unsweetened Mochi is eaten on New Years Day in a special soup called ozoni. This type of mochi is formally called "komochi." Eating mochi and ozoni soup on New Years Day will give you good luck and longevity.
We cooked up 175 pounds of mochi rice. Yes, 175 pounds! It takes about 5 hours to complete...and we all take breaks and grab a bite from our international potluck of tamales, burritos, sushi, won tons, dim sum, and mac and cheese!!
Special mochi rice is steamed (my uncle has rigged up gas lines and about 5 steamers - there is a whole crew of family that works on the rice). Cooked rice is then dumped into one of two machines. The machine grinds the hot rice into a sticky mass and it is extruded from the machine. Remember, it's hot, hot, hot. The Cutter cuts off pieces of mochi and then hands it to the Catcher...
My cousin's daughter got promoted to Catcher! The Catcher gets the hot mochi from the Cutter and shapes it for a few seconds (the goal is round mochi pieces). My favorite story of the day: my cousin said his girls play "making mochi" in the sand at the beach!
Most of the mochi is given out to friends and family so they can toast up a mochi on New Years day and serve it in "ozoni" soup. There are many different types of ozoni soup. (You just gotta be careful...mochi is very chewy and there are always reports of elderly folks in Japan choking on mochi.)
We also cook up mochi during the year and eat it with soy sauce and sugar. I don't know if that is how they do it in Japan, but that's the way my cousins and I eat it! To see last year's photos, see this post.
Ozoni Soup for a good new year!
If you in Los Angeles, head to the Japanese American National Museum on Sunday, January 4, 2009 for a Oshogatsu New Years Family Festival!! They will make mochi the old-fashioned way - pounding it out with a mallet. It's free and fun! Information here.
I want to thank everyone who visited my little blog this year. Thanks for commenting and providing suggestions! I love reading your comments and viewing your blogs...there are so many things I want to make next year! There are some wonderfully creative and supportive people in the world! Happy New Year - May 2009 bring you good health and happiness!