The other day, I headed to the market to buy our New Year’s eve food with my list in hand. I got everything for ozoni (Japanese New Year’s soup) except for the mochi because although Foodland usually sells komochi, they didn’t have anything but chi chi dango. Unacceptable! I made plans to go to Nijiya Market to look for mochi later.

Grandma J ended up coming over for dinner and she brought me some mochi from an old family friend. That night I fried up three and gobbled it up, not thinking to save some for the soup. Today when I went to Nijiya and bought two trays of komochi (this means small mochi). But they didn’t have the big kasane mochi, so I bought a bag of sweet rice to see if I could make my own mochi.

There are machines that make mochi, but a quick search on Amazon told me they cost about $275. No thanks. I read that you can use a bread machine, but sometimes they break. Since I just got my bread machine, the heck with trying that. Breaking your bread machine a week after you get it sounds just like something I’d do. I also read you can use a KitchenAid mixer, but since I don’t own one of those either, it meant doing it by hand.

Traditional old fashioned mochi pounding sessions use a giant stone mortar and a huge wooden mallet. Since I have neither and don’t desire to shell out bucks to buy them either, I figured it was basically the same thing to cook sweet rice and smash it with a little wooden stick until it was mochi.

Sweet Rice

I cooked 3 cups of sweet rice in my rice cooker with the “Sweet” setting. I put half of it into a pyrex bowl and then started to smash it with my little wooden rolling pin that came with a fondant kit. I worked my poor arms to death, smashing it around for about half an hour.

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You can still see some of the grain bits in this. I had to concentrate on smashing against the side of the bowl to get as much as I could. I didn’t feel the need for it to be perfect, just good enough.

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Here’s a different angle of my second batch. At this point I was too tired to go any longer, so I just stopped and formed up the upper mochi for my kasane. To form it, I wet my hands, pinched off how much I thought I needed, and then shaped it in potato starch.

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With the rest, I made 11 komochi. We fried two immediately to see how it tasted. It was great! You couldn’t event taste any unmashed rice!

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This is my finished kasane, which is still kind of droopy because it’s so fresh, but I go and buff it up every now and then. It came out pretty awesome, so even though my arms are falling off, I’m pretty pleased with myself! 😀

For some reason I seem to be heading into a year in which I make my own everything. With a bread machine I’m trying to make my own bread all the time. I’m fiddling around with recipes for lilikoi cheesecake popsicles. And now I’m even hand pounding my own mochi!

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