Mochitsuki or making mochi.
A traditional Japanese New Year's activity and food.
Mochi has gained in popularity due to mochi ice cream. The mochi is the glutinous rice covering the ice cream. The rice is a special variety - not just your basic Uncle Ben's but a special glutinous and very sticky rice -
that's why my friend S. compares eating mochi to what eating glue sticks would be like.
This is how mochi is traditionally made:
|Steamed rice is placed in the mortar and smashed in. The rice is really hot - see all the steam?|
|More smashing, more steam.|
|Once the rice is ready, and can handle the swinging of the pestles without flying out of the mortar|
the real smashing begins!
|Each group establishes a rhythm for pounding efficiently - and hopefully no one gets hurt!|
|Finished and formed mochi, some of it filled with anko - sweet bean paste.|