Japanese Food Culture: Mochi もち

October 11, 2018
contest: CHANGE in Wood Culture - Environment
$ 4800
Japanese Food Culture: Mochi もち /media/flashcomm?action=mediaview&context=normal&id=43212
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Mak Azad Male
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Making Mochi

A rhythmic, solid "thump thump" is the sound of a massive wooden pestle being driven down into an even larger wooden mortar. In other parts of the world the sound might accompany the pounding of harvested grain to make flour, but in Japan it is a once common, now rare sound associated with ceremony of mochitsuki - the making of mochi.
Especially significant as a traditional food eaten during the Japanese New Year's celebrations, mochi was once a commonly produced food at home and for traditional festival.

Raising the wooden mallet (ki-ne) and bringing it down into the mortar (usu) onto the mass of rice, while missing the fingers of the assistant mochi maker is perhaps the easiest part of the long labour-intensive process, while producing the rice in the first place and then moulding the resulting sticky paste into the end product are the hard parts.

An especially glutinous type of polished rice is first soaked over night then steamed and when cooked deposited in a great heap in the bottom of the mortar. Between repeated strikes at the rice mass with the mallet, an assistant alternates by reaching in to the mortar with wet fingers, turning the hot mass quickly and occasionally adding a little water as required before the next heavy blow falls. Working together, the beater and the turner establish a rhythm that is a joy to watch and soon produces finely grained rice dough, which is easily moulded.

Categories: Nature Photography

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