Saturday, December 31, 2011

Merry Xmas, Happy New Year!

I hope everyone's having a great ol' holiday season! Here's the card I painted for my family. Christmas has come and gone but we're just gearing up for New Year's, which means... Mochi! Every year around this time my family and I make dozens of mochi that we eat fresh or freeze to be enjoyed later.

Mochi is a glutinous (sticky!) rice cake made of glutinous rice that is soaked overnight, cooked, and then pounded into a blob that is then formed into smaller blobs. Wikipedia has a very informative entry

In the olden days, wooden mallets were used to pound the cooked rice into submission. That is so olden days! We now have a magical machine with a magical name ("Mochitsukiki", aka Mochi-making gadget) that does the cooking and pounding for you!


Here's some very poor quality video I took with my iPhone to show the process. We strain the rice after soaking and dump it into this machine, where a single rotating widget in the middle mixes, mashes and pounds the rice until it is a uniform blob that spins and jumps around like its alive.

This clip shows the process a bit further along.

Dancing blog time! My sister and I found this to be the height of hilarity when we were kids. It's really kinda mesmerizing :P. 

How do you get a spinning molten blob of sticky rice out of a mochitsukiki? With a specially designed plastic bit with a hole at the bottom, that's how!

From there it's dumped onto a wooden block that's been liberally sprinkled with sweet rice flour to keep it from sticking. Then we form it into balls.

There are lots of ways to enjoy mochi. Easiest is to create a paste using some of sugar and soy sauce and dip and eat. They're also great in miso soup (any soup really -- today we had turkey soup with mochi in it! The turkey soup was made from xmas turkey bones) and with sweet red bean paste. 

Mochi has a simple taste, it's the texture that's the most fun. They are chewy and soft and stretchy. Zap one in the microwave and it'll inflate like a balloon, only to immediately flatten like the world's saddest souffle as soon as the power is cut. Mochi is fun!

My next post will probably be a showcase of the two t-shirts I designed as gifts this year. I coulda posted that first but I wanted to do something topical.

Happy 2012!

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