Mochi-Tsuki is a Japanese new year’s tradition for our family and many other local families. From what I know, it’s a tradition that has been passed down from my husband’s great-uncle to my father-in-law, and now to my husband. Although he had a lot of help from mom and dad, this was the first year he was officially in charge of organizing our annual mochi-tsuki.
The day starts early in the morning before the sun rises at my in-laws house. This time of year, the weather is cold and crisp in Mililani. Mochi rice is washed and soaked days ahead, the red bean paste (anko) is prepared, and the actual mochi pounding is hard work.
Above: Yomogi (Japanese mugwort) added for color. Below: Mochi filled, shaped, and dusted with potato starch
Hopefully the next generation to carry on this tradition
Planny slippahs outside…always a good sign
The usu (no, not uso) handed down from generations. Mochi rice steaming in the background.
Your reward for all that hard work? Crispy wok fried fish, cooked and caught by my father-in-law. Eat with shoyu and super soft fresh mochi!!
When pau, we’re left with plain mochi, yomogi mochi, mochi filled with anko. I’ll eat it any way I can get it, but some of my favorite ways to eat mochi are–plain, pan fried with shoyu sugar (isobe mochi), soft and dusted with kinako sugar (warabi mochi), or stuffed with anko and pan fried.
But the true calling for this mochi is best tasted in OZONI! (mochi soup) My all time favorite food. My grandma made the best ozoni, only eaten at new years for good luck. Trying to keep this tradition alive as well, I’m on a quest to make the perfect ozoni.