Have you heard about Mochi-Tsuki? Mochi means rice cake and Tsuki means to pound or hit, in other words Mochi-Tsuki is making rice cake by pounding it.
Japanese has many new year traditions, Mochi-Tsuki being one of them. Japanese believe that eating mochi will bring them good luck. Usually when Japanese people do Mochi-Tsuki, they make Kagami Mochi.
There was an annual Mochi-Tsuki event in Harajuku and my coworker encouraged me to try this cool activity. I was amazed by the strength of the Japanese men who pounded the rice cake. He lifted the 3-4 kilogram wooden mallet (Kine) and “Bang!” he pounded the rice cake accurately into a traditional mortar (Usu) until it was as soft as marshmallow. It seemed easy at first but after I tried it, I found that I could not pound it as accurately and I often missed the mochi and hit the side of the Usu instead!
It was lots of fun!
Lets learn how to Mochi-Tsuki!
First, put the sticky rice that’s been soaked in water overnight and steamed into a large traditional wood or stone bowl called Usu. Usually, Mochi-Tsuki is performed by two people, one person pounds the mochi with a wooden mallet (Kine) and the other person shifts the sticky rice and keeps it moisturized and keeps it from getting too sticky. After pounding for 10-15 minutes, the sticky rice will turn soft like marshmallow and.. tadaa..! Mochi-Tsuki is complete!
Second, put the warm Mochi into a container and fill it with some warm water to prevent it from turning hard again. When serving the mochi, you must wet your hands so that the mochi doesn’t stick to your fingers. Using your hands, you pull the Mochi into small pieces and add toppings such as soy sauce, sweet red bean paste, sweet roasted soybean powder or seaweed.
The finished product! It was delicious! (^^)
We have many more traditional events to come so stay tuned!
See you in the next blog post!