Mochi, Mochi, Mochi! - New Years Post #2

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Mochi making with my family
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.

Mochi making with my family Mochi making with my family
Mochi making with my family

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...

Mochi making with my family
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!

Mochi making with my family
As the mochi cools, the mochi flattens out a bit.

Mochi making with my family
After the mochi cools, they are pulled off the trays and dusted with mochiko (rice flour). This operation uses three generations of manpower! We are always grooming new talent! :)

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 (New Year's soup with mochi)
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!
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15 comments:

Megan said... [Reply to comment]

What a labor intensive project! But also a fabulous way to get everyone together for a true family event. I've never seen anything like that, but you are just full of information today! I'm loving it!

Di said... [Reply to comment]

What a great family tradition! Happy New Year!

CB said... [Reply to comment]

What a fabulous tradition. Love seeing all the pictures of your family and the process of mochi making. That little boy is so freaking adorable. Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year Mary! :)
/Clara

Snooky doodle said... [Reply to comment]

WOW THIS IS ALOT OF WORK TO DO TO MAKE THESE! I ENJOY READING ABOUT JAPANESE FOOD. EVEN WISH TO TRY MAKE SOME BUT I M HOPELESS AT IT :( AT LEAST I CAN ENJOY PICS IN YOUR POST

Tracey said... [Reply to comment]

What a great post! I loved seeing all the photos of the process. Happy New Year to you!

Em said... [Reply to comment]

I've had mochi for breakfast, lunch and dinner today! I had been waiting for this day to eat mochi for the past several weeks! Though I wish I could taste the fresh mochi like you had!

Esi said... [Reply to comment]

These posts are amazing. I hope you had a wonderful new year with your family!!

Monica H said... [Reply to comment]

Happy New Year to you too and thank you for visiting my little neck of the woods :-)

n.o.e said... [Reply to comment]

Is it wrong for me to say I'm glad you're laid up? Just because it means you're blogging about all that fantastic Japanese food. I'm loving your posts about New Year's food, especially all the pictures of your family making mochi!
Nancy

2.46% said... [Reply to comment]

I love seeing three generations of your family making mochi. Your family's mochi is so pretty and I'm sure quite delicious. Happy 2009 FL!

Jodie said... [Reply to comment]

This is AWESOME! I love it. We eat it with soy sauce and sugar, too. They probably don't do that in Japan, but they probably don't eat mochi with butter, either (which we sometimes do!). :) Happy New Year!

Madam Chow said... [Reply to comment]

I love that you include chips and guacamole in your festivities!

Jessica said... [Reply to comment]

Wow! I love family traditions where everyone is involved and the end product is something edible. In Texas a lot of people make tamales for Christmas and I suppose that's where my jealousy of such traditions stems from.

The mochi look amazing. I'm so jealous -- I have to buy mine in the freezer section of the grocery store.

Your blog is fantastic -- I'm looking forward to reading it in 2009!

Linda said... [Reply to comment]

This was a fantastic read Mary! Thanks for inviting all of us to observe your family's mochi making tradition.

BTW, did you read the LA Times article about mochi making?

Fuji Mama said... [Reply to comment]

Mochi is one of my favorite foods and I LOVE ozoni! I ate mochi dipped in soy sauce and mochi dipped in kinako and sugar as snack at friends houses on several occasions. Mmmmmm... Do you have a favorite ozoni recipe?

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