Japan: Food: Mochi for New Years

Speaking of Japanese New Years foods, here’s another one: mochi.

What is mochi?  It’s rice cake, generally served warm and gooey, and traditionally made by hand, of course, by pounding cooked rice into a gooey paste.  TANGENT: Gooey is apparently my word of the day.  As a TOEFL teacher, I feel compelled to summon a synonym, but if I use gelatinous…that just makes me think of Slimer from Ghostbusters.. and.now I need to watch those movies again.  (End tangent.)

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Back to the matter at hand: mochi.  For those too lazy to labor away over a vat of hot rice, the supermarket has a wonderful solution: bags full of individually-wrapped bricks of rice cake.  It might look something like this:

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Those like you and I labor away in front of a microwave, armed not with a giant, wooden mallet, but with a flismy little set of nesting plastic cups.

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Ye Olde Block of Mochi is placed in said cups, accompanied by some water (up to the fill line, or about half way).  The cup says one minute for one block, and two minutes for two…but honestly, our fairly weak microwave overdoes two a a minute thirty…but I put one in for one minute for these pictures, and I think it could have used a little more…

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Once the mochi has been heated, strain out the water, slab the warm mochi does on a plate, and get out the soy sauce and butter.

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No, seriously, it’s really good.  Though I overdid it a bit on the soy sauce…I always do…

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Then just mix you toppings and spread them evenly over the white brick of gooey deliciousness, and enjoy!

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