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Get to Know Mochi, the Best Japanese Dessert

By Selly Juniarti
January 17, 2020

Mochi: one of the best Japanese desserts for centuries. Photo: Ward Village.

When it comes to Japanese traditional desserts, Mochi is always the answer. This traditional dessert is also known as “rice cake” that has been enjoyed in Japan for centuries. Have you ever tried this snack before?

This super chewy snack is made from an ingredient known as Mochigome which is short-grain glutinous rice. When rice is battered, it creates a sugary taste and a fluffy rice cake texture. That’s why Mochi has such an addictive sweet taste and chewy texture. It can also be filled with different kinds of delicious fillings, like red bean and green bean paste as two common traditional fillings.

Wondering where Mochi gets its chewy texture? The secret is short-grain glutinous rice! Photo: Channel NewsAsia.

Aside from being a popular Japanese dessert, there’s actually a story behind this snack. In the past, Mochi was used as an offering to the gods, cut into pieces afterwards, then shared for good luck. It was treated as a religious offering instead of an ordinary dessert. Only the emperor and noble people had the privilege to enjoy this tasty dessert. Later, during the Heian period, Mochi became a celebratory food and was eaten as part of the New Year’s festivities. Some families would make Mochi with sour flour in the new year period because it symbolizes good luck. Oh, and did you know that Mochi is also a symbol of happy marriage?

Sakura Mochi makes a super good and unique seasonal dessert, here comes the Spring! Photo: Matcha-JP.

At special times throughout the year, Japanese people prepare Mochi with flavors that match the occasion. For example, during the cherry blossom season, they make Sakura Mochi to welcoming the Spring season. On Children’s Day (which takes place annually on May 5th), Mochi wrapped in a leaf would be made to promote the happiness and health of children. Traditionally, Mochi is made with the “Mochitsuki” method. The whole rice grains are placed in a Usu (a large bowl made from stone or wood), then pounded into a paste using a heavy wooden hammer. People are still using this method to making Mochi, especially during the upcoming New Year events.

Chocolate Mochi, Japanese dessert with global taste. Photo: YourCook.

Now, influenced by global culture, there are so many flavors of Mochi with various kinds of fillings. You can now try all sorts of fillings, like chocolate, custard, jam, ice cream (popular as Mochi Ice Cream), banana, and many more! We also recommend you to try to dip one in soy sauce. It sounds strange, but it tastes so amazing. They are a perfect match!

That’s all we got to say about Mochi! So, are you going to try this Japanese dessert when you visit Japan? Or, is it available in your country? Although it’s very special, and is enjoyed during Japanese festivals or occasions, this dessert can generally be found in many places at any time in Japan. Speaking about festivals, you might want to know more about Food Festival in Japan as well!

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Selly Juniarti

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