Making Mochi for a Happy New Year!

One of the traditional foods served during shōgatsu, or Japanese New Year, is mochi. This delectable rice cake is made of glutinous rice pounded into a paste and formed into shape. Mochi is so versatile that it can be added to soups, turned into mochi ice cream, or filled with ingredients like red bean paste or fruits.

Mochitsuki

The traditional ceremony of pounding mochi is called Mochitsuki, a significant part of the Japanese New Year celebration. The process is labor-intensive, needs several people to make it, and requires quick reflexes because one wrong move and a hand can be pounded instead of the mochi!

YouTube upload by mingmann

The pounding of mochi is truly an impressive sight, and the ceremony also gives people a chance to get together with family and friends.

For this New Year’s feast, you can buy mochi in the stores or even make some at home if you have the ingredients. Here’s a great how-to video on home-made mochi:

YouTube upload by En Lee Kitchen

Ozoni

This soup is made of mochi along with vegetables and broth. The ingredients are somewhat specific to region, but mochi is essential in the soup. Most Japanese have this traditional dish for the first meal for the new year. It is believed to pave the way for a happy year ahead.

The arrangement of the ingredients is so attractive that it is as much a visual treat as a treat for the palate.  Here’s how you can make ozoni soup:

YouTube upload by Cooking with Dog