Japanese New Year Mochi
Making the Mochi
5 “rice cooker cups” (650grams) of glutinous rice
Plenty of water to soak the rice
A large bowl or pot with a lid
1. Rinse the rice for 4 or 5 times until water becomes clear.
2. Place rice in a big bowl or any casserole dish or pot with plenty of water. You need water level around 2~3 cm higher than rice (cover with lid). Leave overnight or 8 to 12 hours.
3. Once soaked for the allotted time, put half amount of rice with some of the water into the blender. Blend for 2~3 minutes until rice becomes milky and smooth.
4. Pour blended rice into the casserole dish (the Mochi mixture should be around 2.5cm or 1 inch deep and cook covered (with a lid) for 13 minutes in the microwave on high (900watts).
5. While cooking, prepare the wooden kitchen board and sprinkle plenty of corn flour or potato flour on top.
6. Now bring the cooked rice to the floured kitchen board (be careful with steam when removing lid). Using a wet wooden spatula, do the cutting motion to all the edges as the bottom will be sticky, then carefully turn casserole dish with pushing little the bottom of mixture with spatula onto the board.
7. Sprinkle more flour on top. Leave to cool down and set for around 3~4 hours.
8. Now cut mochi in square shapes with knife. (Chinese knife works best if you have one)
9. You can use Mochi straight away or store in a container and put into fridge (you need to coat all sides with corn or potato flour to prevent sticking together) They will last a week or more and you can also freeze them for later use (if freezing, you can grill them straight away without being thawed.
Tip: There may be some remnants of mochi in the casserole dish and the spatula. Soak the casserole dish and spatula with warm water. This will help to lift of any remaining mochi.
Also note rice cooker cups (typically around 130grams) are smaller than a usual metric cup.
Making Ozoni- Mochi in a soup (Serves 4)
8 squared Mochi
1-piece chicken thigh fillet
1 small carrot
A few stems of English spinach (or other greens)
6 grams Dashi powder (Japanese Bonito seasoning)
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Japanese Cooking Wine
1 tsp sea salt
*note – if you’re unable to find Dashi, you could use chicken stock and season to taste (you may not need to season with salt, as store bought stock is quite salty already)
Making Mochi in a soup (Ozoni)
1. Cut the chicken into small bite size pieces.
2. Blanch the English spinach in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Drain and rinse with water. Squeeze the water and cut into 2cm length.
3. Cut carrots into thin slices. I have cut them in flower shapes but you can simply cut slice circles
4. In a large sauce pan add 600cc water and dashi and carrots. Bring to boil, then add chicken pieces. cooking for 6~7 minutes. Skim the foam and fat on the surface.
5. Add sake, soy sauce and sea salt. Simmer. Adjust seasonings.
6. Now place mochi in an oven tray and grill until puffed up and golden brown both sides about 5 minutes each side. (just be careful not to burn)
7. In the serving bowl, place 2 mochi, add soup with chicken, carrots and spinach on top. Now it’s ready to serve.
Making Mochi wrapped in Nori (dried seaweed) -Isobeyaki
1. 4 grilled Mochi
2. 2 Tbsp soy sauce
3. 1 tsp sugar
4. 1 sheet of Nori
1. Warm up Nori both sides for 10 seconds (ensure that you’re constantly moving the nori otherwise it will burn) on the cooking stove top in very low heat. Cut Nori sheet to 9 small squares.
2. Mix soy sauce and sugar in a plate or bowl. Coat grilled Mochi with mixture and grill again for a couple of minutes (this is optional). Wrap with Nori. Ready to serve.
New Year’s Day morning in Japan, we start to eat Mochi in a soup (Ozoni) along with lots of delicacies. We continue to eat Mochi for a week in different ways like with red beans, with soy bean flour.
When you make the actual Mochi, you may need to adjust the water amount. More water means a softer Mochi. Hope you will try and enjoy making!
Wishing you all a “Happy New Year!”
Written by Kumiko