After my last post some people asked about making mochi yourself. Around New Years, many Japanese make mochi at home and enjoy this in a party-like atmosphere, much like at a barbeque. Mochi making is usually done in winter when the new rice is just in. Mochi are a very warming, strengthening food. After all, one large mochi is the equivalent of one bowl of rice. It is a light yet high-cal food, good for staying warm in the un-inunsulated Japanese houses in winter and a good light food for sick people.
Mochi can be eaten stuffed with anko, a paste from adzuki beans. Or they are dusted with roasted soy flour, which gives them a great nutty flavor, and then dipped in a mixture of soysauce, water, and sugar. This was my favorite way to eat them. Or you can roast them, or really dry them and then roast them in the oven, they will pop and triple in size. Lastly, you can add them to soups, zoni is a traditinoal New Year's soup.
I remember a mochi-making party: It was a beautiful day in early January, sunny and almost warm, and we were all outside at work having a mochi tsuki party. Unfortunately I hadn't brought my camera to work that day. But could I ever make mochi again myself? Watch the video:
You will understand that I prefer resorting to shop-bought mochi now or doing without :-)
I couldn't resist pasting another video, mochi making during Sakura Matsuri - the cherry blossom festival. Pretty cool, here the rice is pounded to the rhythm of taiko drums. Ooooooh, makes me homesick for Japan (even though the video was apprently shot in San Fancisco) :-)