I don’t know about your weekend but mine was fantastic because it was filled with mochi. 200 pounds of mochi to be exact! And you know how much I love mochi…
The difference this year was insane weather, wow was it raining! 39 degrees and constant downpours is not typical here in LA but the family rolled with it. Considering most of the mochi operations go on outside, tents were set up and they were all troopers and battled the freezing cold to get that mochi made!
First the 200 pounds of rice was washed and soaked overnight.
Then it was placed in the rice steamers.
Once the rice was ready it was put into the machine…
…and stirred around to keep it from sticking.
Instead of the old skool usu, the machine does all the work – grinding out the mochi.
The “catcher” takes the mochi and forms it into a ball and places it on a pan. It’s like holding a tiny ball of fire. However the burning hot mochi was actually a nice hand warmer against the freezing rain.
Watch (above) how it settles itself down from a ball to a perfectly formed piece of mochi:
Onto the cooling area where it was so cold that the hot mochi was letting off a ton of steam.
Then the mochi was moved indoors to be covered in mochiko to keep dry.
Finally it moved onto the packing room where all the families got their boxes to take home.
Still, there’s nothing like eating fresh mochi and the FoodLibrarian even set up a ‘mochi tasting table’ just like the one I saw at O.G.’s church! The table was set up with toppings for your mochi. There was shoyu, sugar, kinako, wasabi, ponzu, nori, daikon and even (yuck) natto.
I got to take about 5 pounds which was more than enough for dinner, snacks and of course to prep for my New Year’s Day Oshogatsu. After 200 pounds of mochi I’m still not sick of it. I’m ready to eat some more!