Hina-matsuri: Making Mochi

Girls' Day 2014

As you can tell from the picture, Maya doesn’t have a traditional Girls Day display. My mother had a set when she was a baby, but how that set was lost is another (and pretty sad) story. Today’s sad story is about my mochi fail.

I wanted my girl to have pink mochi on Girls’ Day, but since she can’t eat stuff with Red 40 in it, I was at a loss. For a couple of months now, she’s known that this is coming the Hinamatsuri/Purim period that leads into Pesach/Easter. In any case, she was looking forward to this, and I wanted her to have pink mochi. Since I was also thinking of making sekihan (sweet rice with azuki beans) and making the an (azuki bean paste) from scratch, I thought maybe using some of the liquid from cooking the azuki beans would be good. After all, the same liquid is used to make the sekihan pink too. But my mother suggested strawberries and my mother-in-law obliged by buying some organic ones when she came over. So it looked like I would have everything I would need.

I’ve made the microwave mochi before and I’ve also done baked chichi-dango and butter mochi. But for this Girls’ Day, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to make mochi from rice and not from rice flour, and the Internet obliged. I found a bunch of people making mochi with a stand mixer. It was time for Big Red.

Having never made an before, this was an experience, but in the end, it came out pretty well. After all, it was beans and sugar. I got lucky and timed it right. That boosted confidence. From there, I took the soaking mochi-gome and put it into the rice cooker. I ran about a cup of strawberries through a food processor and then added them and some water to the rice cooker and let it all sit there for about a half hour. From there, I cooked it, transferred it to Big Red’s bowl when it was finished cooking and let it go for about 20 or 30 minutes. From the Internet, I learned there are two camps: kneading hook and paddle. I used the kneading hook since it was already attached, but next time, I’ll do it with the paddle. Long story short, I put in too much liquid and had a mochi that was too soft and too sticky. It basically ate up all of my potato and corn starch as I was working with it. My parents were on skype at the time and that was the general consensus. Too wet.

Still, we did get a few good pink mochi, and Maya enjoyed it on Girls Day. Once she got over the idea that I wasn’t making pink playdoh.

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