Mochi- Japanese rice cake
Mochi is a Japanese cake made up of sticky rice called mochigome. This rice is also known as Japanese sticky rice which contains gluten in it. While making mocha sometimes other ingredients such as cornstarch, sugar and water are also added. In Japan, there is a ceremony called mochitsuki, in which mochi is traditionally made although mochi can be found throughout the year. Mochi is one of the traditional food eaten and sold in Japan during the New Year. Mochi is a combination of carbohydrates, lipids, protein and water. Mochi and Dango are nearly similar but Dango is made up of rice flour.
You must be wondering how the eating of mochi started in japan to understand this we have to look back to the history, mochi originally started from china by the tribes called as Aboriginal where glutinous rice is a part of there life grown and used for thousands of years. It is believed that the first mochitsuki ceremony took place when the kami (god) descended to the earth. Originally red rice was used to prepare the mochi, during that time mochi was the exclusive dish to the emperor and other noble persons, and also used to offer to gods in Shinto rituals. During those periods mochi was also known as the lucky charm for happy marriages. A special type of mochi called Kagami mochi(mirror mochi) used to celebrate the new year. Its is believed by the nobles of the imperial court that the freshly prepared mochi refers to long life and well-being whereas the dried mochi is to strengthen one’s teeth. This can be better understood by the oldest Japanese novel “The Tale of Genji”.
The preparation of mochi can be categorized into the traditional and modern method. The traditional method the whole rice is used with intensive efforts of labour. The glutinous rice is first soaked overnight and then steamed. The steamed rice is mashed by using a wooden mallet. Whereas in the modern method of preparation flour of mochiko (sweet rice) is cooked with water until it forms a sticky white mass and then it is mashed with a mallet, with modern technology it can be done by automated equipment.
The mochi can be used in different varieties such as the mochi which is stuffed with a sweet filling called “daifuku” other one is “Ichigo daifuku” in which the whole strawberry is stuffed. There is a green variety of mochi as well called “Kusa mochi”. You can also found the mochi ice cream in which a small scoop of ice cream is wrapped inside mocha. So whenever visit Japan don’t forget to try different varieties of mochi.