The new year may be in full swing, but somewhere between last Christmas and New Year’s Day, something special happens.
We make mochi.
Everyone gathers at grandma’s house early in the morning– all generations come to make mochi together.
The mochi rice is soaked in water overnight until each grain is plump and ready. Then the rice is cooked and pounded until the grains of rice merge into a single large ball.
A dusting of flour is sifted onto the table as everyone gathers around. Small rounds of mochi are pinched from the large ball, waiting to be formed into a smooth disc.
We work the hot and malleable mochi quickly with our hands, lest it cools and hardens before we finish. Each ball is smoothed, flattened, and spread out large enough to fit a small dollop of azuki— a sweet bean paste.
Once the azuki is placed in the middle of the mochi, the mochi is folded, pinched closed at the top, and smoothed out.
That’s one mochi down, and dozens more to go.
The finished mochi are lined up on the tray to cool and the table is cleaned and prepped for the next batch of hot mochi rice that is currently being cooked.
Mochi Day isn’t just about making mochi though. We play games, we find furry creatures napping in the midday sun, and of course, we enjoy some good food together.
Like most family traditions, Mochi Day is not as much about making mochi than it is about spending time with family and creating memories together that will last a lifetime.