Many people enjoy eating mochi. However, do you know how mochi is made?
Mochi, which is a small, sweet Japanese cake made with glutinous rice flour (mochiko), has a soft, chewy outer layer and a deliciously sticky filling made of sweetened red bean paste. Mochi is traditionally made by pounding steamed short-grain Japanese sticky rice, known as mochigome, with a wooden mallet during a ceremony known as mochitsuki.
While mochi is popular all year, it is especially popular during the New Year’s holiday when families gather. This is significant because the traditional method of making mochi requires time and a large number of helping hands. The rice is steamed before being placed in a large wooden mortar. This is where the enjoyable but exhausting work begins! The rice is pounded repeatedly with a wooden mallet until it becomes a malleable mass of gelatinous rice. To ensure an even texture, the rice must be repositioned and formed between smashes.
On January 6, 2023, our first day back after the winter break, we held a mochi-making event at ISN-Gojo. School personnel, teachers, parents, and students attended the event. Teachers, parents, and students all got to try their hand at pounding glutinous rice with a wooden mallet. Parents and teachers began scooping the dough from the mortar and shaping it before dipping it in various flavors such as anko (red bean paste), sweet soybean powder, or having it with a seaweed and soysauce.
We all enjoyed eating mochi prepared in the traditional way known as mochitsuki.