Mochi cakes are a New Year’s treat representing longevity. But don’t worry about eating them only on New Year’s; eat them whenever you like. We’ve provided some ways to eat them following the recipe.
2 cups mochigome (short grain sticky rice)
1 tsp salt
Rinse the rice and soak overnight in enough cold water to completely submerge each grain.
Drain, then place the rice in a cheesecloth and toss with salt. Place in a steamer and level. Make an indentation in the middle and layer the excess cloth over the rice. Steam for about 15 minutes, and make sure there’s enough water in the pot, as the steam will be quickly absorbed by the rice.
After the first 15 minutes, sprinkle 1/3 cup of water over the rice, and continue cooking for another 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
In total, the rice will cook for about 40 minutes or so.
Remove from heat and let rest for about 10 minutes. Then place the rice into a mortar or large sturdy tub. Using a pestle or heavy mallet, pound the rice. This is a lengthy process, and often requires two people: one person to pound, and the other to move the rice around so every grain can be squashed. Occasionally, a sprinkle of water can be added to keep the rice moist.
After a while, the rice will become glutinuous and extremely sticky. This is the consistency required. Once all of the rice is pounded and sticky, seperate into small patties the size of a flattened ping pong ball. You can eat them right away, or serve them the next day (keep them wrapped tightly in the fridge or freezer). The rice cakes will become dry, but after grilling or boiling, they will resume their sticky consistency.
Here are some ideas for eating mochi:
Grill the mochi on both sides until soft, then dip into soy sauce. Wrap in a piece of nori and enjoy!
In clear ichiban dashi, add some smaller pieces of mochi, boiled spinach, kamaboko, and a splash of soy sauce to make a delicious soup.
In smaller pieces, add some azuki paste for a quick dessert. You can also serve it with ice cream.