Mochi: The Real Stuff

Mochi is Japanese rice cake. It is traditionally made from pounded glutinous rice called mochigome. The mochi that is sold and served commercially in America tends to be made from glutinous rice flour, which doesn’t have the same texture or compare to pounded mochi. Mochi made from pounded rice is extremely sticky and requires lots of chewing. Every year during the Japanese New Year, a handful of unfortunate people choke on mochi. It’s THAT sticky. On the other hand, mochi made from rice flour has a gummy consistency  – chewy but falls apart after a couple of bites.

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Unfortunately, as I lack a large mallet and usu,  I had to make do with my  Tiger Mochi Maker to make a batch of mochi for the new year. This machine automates the mochi making process and requires minimal effort.

The Tiger Mochi Maker

The Tiger Mochi Maker

Ingredients:

5-10 Cups of Glutionous Rice (Mochigome)
Rice Flour (to make it easier to separate the mochi into smaller chunks)

Preparation:

1. Rinse the rice thoroughly, until the water is clear.
2. Soak rice in water for 6-12 hours.

Soaking rice

Soaking rice

3.Pour water into the steaming well of the machine. The following table shows the correct amount of water that needs to used based on cups of rice.

Cups of Rice 5 6 7 8 9 10
Cups of Water 2 2.1 2.2 2.2 2.3 2.5
The steaming well

The steaming well

4. Mount the rice container above the steaming well and then mount the impeller at the bottom of the rice container.

Mounted rice container and impeller

Mounted rice container and impeller

5. Drain the rice and pour into the rice container. Place lid on top of rice container.

Draining rice

Draining rice

Lid on top and ready to steam

Lid on top and ready to steam

6. Press the “Steam” button.  The rice will cook for 30-45 minutes. The buzzer will sound when finished.

Steamed rice

Steamed rice

7. Remove lid and press the “Pound” button to start the pounding process. This would be the most strenuous part of making mochi but this little machine does a surprisingly thorough job. 10-15 minutes is about the right length of time. However, it’s all up to your preference. Less pounding and the mochi will be more firm, more pounding and it will be more soft. Make sure that the mochi appears to be smooth and you can no longer see the grains of rice.

Mochi being pounded and twirled around

Mochi being pounded and twirled around

Mochi machine in action

Mochi machine in action

After pounding, this is the mochi in its resting state

After pounding, this is the mochi in its resting state

Demonstrating the viscosity of pounded mochi

Demonstrating the viscosity of pounded mochi

8. Flour the surface that you will be working on to dissect the mochi glob.
9. Remove the container from the machine and shake upside down to dislodge mochi glob.
10. Use ample amounts of rice flour on your hands to handle the mochi. It is extremely sticky and it will be easy to make a big mess if you use too little flour. Pull apart chunks and shape them however you like. If you shape them flat enough, you can fill it with anko (sweet red bean paste), ice cream, or anything. My favorite way of eating  mochi is with sugar and soy bean flour.

Little mochi cakes

Little mochi cakes

Once you’ve eaten mochi made from glutinous rice, you’ll realize how much of a choking hazard it is. Safe eating!

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