Mochitsuki 2012 - Mochi Making with the Family for New Years

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mochitsuki 2012 - Mochi Making
As we've done since before I was born, my family and friends came together on the Saturday before New Years Day to make mochi - a Japanese pounded rice patties used on New Year's day to give you good luck, longevity, good times, and a shot at George Clooney (what? that's not the promise of mochi? Hmmm...)

As I've described in posts from 2011201020082007, my family gets together annually to make hella mochi. Hella.

Mochitsuki 2012 - Mochi Making
This year we cooked 200 pounds of rice. Yes, that is 20 bags of rice. Luckily, my friend Rosie was on winter break from Johnson & Wales. She washed all 200 pounds of rice! She's starting to look Asian now, huh? :)

Mochitsuki 2012 - Mochi Making
We woke up to RAIN. What? This is Los Angeles! We haven't had rain on mochi day for years so we were pretty disappointed. The annual bouncy house had to be cancelled - so sad because you can get a good workout in the bouncy house (if you are in Los Angeles, try Planet Bouncy - Owner Sergei is a UCLA Bruin and they did a great job last year).

But is pouring rain going to stop a bunch of Japanese Americans with determination? No. We put up some pop tents and rain jackets. Above, my cousin, brother and cousin-in-law make mochi (this process is repeated for about 6 hours). Hot rice goes into the grinder and gets extruded. The mochi is cut off, and then handed to the catcher who rolls it into a round shape before placing the hot mochi onto a full-sheet pan.

Mochitsuki 2012 - Mochi Making
This year I set up a Mochi Tasting Table. I saw it at a church function and thought it was a great way to introduce people to the different ways you can eat mochi...however, everyone just stuck with the standards: shoyu (soy sauce), sugar and kinako. We had: nori (seaweed), ponzu sauce (wasn't even opened), shoyu (soy sauce - light salt (next year, I need to have both the "red" and "green" bottle because some like the full sodium effect), kinako (roasted soybean flour & sugar), grated daikon radish, wasabi paste, and natto (fermented soybeans). Natto is a crazy very acquired taste - I find it gross, but one person did eat their mochi with it! Somehow, there is a Diet Coke in my photo...ignore that.

Mochitsuki 2012 - Mochi Making
Mochi, mochi, mochi...

Mochitsuki 2012 - Mochi Making
We ate and ate and ate - this is only a few of dishes. In the upper left hand corner is Spam Musubi...I'll have a post (and giveaway) soon. Someone "new" to mochi making (we always get a few new friends each year) brought Beer Can Chicken...they are totally invited back. My cousin grilled Korean BBQ at 8 am, in the rain, before coming over. That's dedication.

Mochitsuki 2012 - Mochi Making
There are pans and pans of mochi by the end of the day. We pack it up and most people deliver it to friends so they can have fresh mochi on New Year's morning.

Although the house is covered with mochiko flour and I'm exhausted by the end of the day, it is so worth it to see lots of relatives and friends. And since we had rain this year, I think we're guaranteed clear skies for the next ten years.

Check out my friend JustJenn's post about the day! She has a lot more "process" photos so if you are interested to each step, check it out.

Happy New Year! Next up... I go to Jenn's house for a New Year's feast (with mochi, of course!)

- mary the food librarian

Related mochi posts:
Fmaily Mochi making: 201120102008, 2007
Sweet mochi with red beans
Chocolate Brownie mochi
Zunda mochi
Blueberry Mochi cake
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Kimberly (Unrivaledkitch) said... [Reply to comment]

awesome Mary! I love seeing this post every year. We used to pound the rice the old way but Now I spend more time making the osechi then worrying about the mochi but its such an important part. Beautiful family event of tradition! thanks so much for sharing and happy new year.

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

That looks awesome! My family is back home in Guam, The Philippines and spread over the US but I wish we had family activities as massive as this!

Azusa said... [Reply to comment]

I love these NY's posts of yours! So great to see tradition being carried on. I've never eaten mochi with daikon oroshi... is that with shoyu and wasabi?

The Food Librarian said... [Reply to comment]

@Azusa Azusa, Have no idea...It seems old school - like only eaten by my aunties. No one touched it :) I've never heard of wasabi either - but Jenn saw it at the church mochitsuki so we put it on the tray. I'm a kinako girl.

Panda8ngel said... [Reply to comment]

Wow...I got to try it this year for the first time at my friend's house. It was fun but burnt your fingers a little. They actually have a little machine that steams and pounds the mochi for them. Yum!

Pegs said... [Reply to comment]

Hi! Help! This is my second year of trying and second year without success...(I should have went to GBC to see the PREP and not the pounding...)
I soaked the mochi rice for a day and then I steamed it in an electric steamer...It didn't work, it wasn't soft enough. Then I tried it in a rice cooker... too much water, too mushy...
Do you have a tip or cooking time or something to help me with my mochi making?? Going to try again at boys day. =) My son and daughter (5,2) now LOVE mochi... good thing I bought some at Marukai. lol (oh, I used a mochi maker like they have at church, but not the rice cooker part... I think it's broken) Thanks again!

The Food Librarian said... [Reply to comment]

@Pegs Pegs, Sorry, I don't work that part of the operation. I do know that they steam the rice in large steamers with steamer clothes (found at Marukai). I would try that method again (perhaps for a longer period of time in your electric steamer) rather than go for the rice cooker. My family doesn't have precise measurements or times on the rice cooking. I think they just put a layer on the bottom of the steamer. Also, you are using the special Koda Farms rice, right? It has bigger kernals than regular Nishiki (and the like) rice. Sorry I'm not much help... Good luck - mary

Pegs said... [Reply to comment]

Hi Mary! Thanks! I'll go see what the "Steamer clothes" look like and try that! I'll let you know!

mariko said... [Reply to comment]

I would like to be adopted by your family!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Try a little shiokoji in your grated daikon and fresh mochi. A big part of the mochi making experience is the great company and all the food that people prepare!

Leah said... [Reply to comment]

Looks like a lot of fun! I volunteered at my uni's mochizuki and we also did the "tasting bar"--it's a great way to show people the variety of ways you can eat mochi. I've always been a fan of kinako.

This year I got to eat Kanazawa-style kagami-mochi--a pink mochi and a white one. So pretty!

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