What is mochi? Mochi is a Japanese rice cake that is traditionally eaten around new year, but which can be found in shops all over Japan. It is made by cooking the (glutinous) rice for a long time and then pounding it extensively before forming it in the desired shape. Usually mochi has some filling, for example red bean paste, chocolate, or fruit. Traditionally mochi is made by hand, but recently mochi can be made using a special mochi maker. Mochi can be very sticky and every year some people pass away after choking on mochi. (Usually these are elderly people who do not have the strength to properly swallow their food.) Because mochi is easily digestible it is also served to ill and weak people.
Traditional food in Japan
In Japan mochi is traditionally pounded with a wooden hammer, while the rice is placed in a wooden basket. In some tourist locations the traditional mochi pounders can put up quite a show, and they will amaze you with their speed and accuracy. An example of such a mochi making show can be seen in the video below:
Buying a mochi maker
Since not of all us have the time or will to become a rice-kneading, mochi-pounding master samurai, we must look for other solutions to make our own mochi. Luckily there are plenty of mochi making devices available on places like amazon. There are different kinds available, from simple cheap mochi machines to more expensive commercial, fully automatic mochi makers. Some mochi makers can also be used to knead and prepare bread, which provides an additional usage for your device.
When preparing your own mochi you can make a lot of variations on the usual mochi. On the internet you can find many mochi recipes, including mochi with ice, vegetables or with sweets inside.