Modern Microwave Mochi

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While not being terribly traditional, this is fast, easy, and makes great use of our modern appliances.
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Ingredients

    • 2 cups of Mochiko sweet rice flour
    • 2 cups cold water

Instructions

Mix Mochiko and water. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. Mix again. Microwave 2 more minutes. Mix again. Pour dough into a baking dish sprayed with Pam (or else oil and flour the pan with Mochiko). Pound dough with the end of a rolling pin to press it into the pan. Cool. Turn mochi out on a cutting board well floured with Mochiko. Cut the mochi into 2 inch squares with a Mochiko-floured knife. Dust cut edges with more Mochiko to prevent sticking. Then place the squares into a box or Ziploc bag to store or into cupcake papers for a party.

Variations: You can also mix half to one can of whole azuki beans into the mochi dough after microwaving and before you pour it into a pan to cool (like Chinese New Year’s cake). If you don’t like squares, you can shape the mochi into balls, which you then flatten. You can even roll a small ball of adzuki bean paste inside the mochi balls, which you then flatten.

Note: Be careful when washing your pans to throw the leftover dough into the trash, not down the drain. A friend from Japan tells me that at New Year’s time they issue warnings about drain pipes getting clogged with sticky mochi dough. If a little does go down the drain, be sure to follow it with lots of hot water.

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Traditional Mochi Making

Is done with a large wooden (sometimes stone) morar and pestle called an usu (mortar) and kine (pestle).

usu  and kine
Usu (mortar) and kine (pestle). Photo from Colby.edu

Mochitsuki is the pounding of steamed sweet rice to make rice cakes, using a mallet (kine) and mortar (usu). In Japan, this traditional activity is held at shrines, public places, and homes at the end of the year. People take turns pounding and turning the mochi--and then eating it, while sharing thoughts about the past year and hopes and dreams for the next. Nowadays electric mochi-makers have made mochi-making more convenient, but many people still enjoy the spirit of traditional mochi-making at New Year's time.

Recipes From GourmetSleuth.com - The Gourmet Food And Cooking Resource