Mochi is one of the traditional foods in Japan. It is a rice cake made from mochigome, a type of short grain japonica glutinous rice pounded and moulded in different shapes. Typically, mochi is sold all year round but it is popularly made during ceremonies called mochitsuki or Japanese New Year. This multi-component food is popularly used as a confectionary, in soup preparation and sweet desserts like ice cream. It is rich with protein, fiber and other essential vitamins and minerals that can revitalize energy and improve an individual’s well being.
Eating Raw Mochi
Individuals who have encountered mochi for the first time are often confused as to how this food is eaten. Depending on the preparation, mochi can be eaten raw or it can be steamed or heated in the microwave to enjoy its great taste. Some manufacturers have already stuffed the mochi with peanut butter, chocolate, sweet red bean paste or ice cream so that consumers can directly eat it without pre-heating; while some of these mochi are packed without any filling because it is intended for soups and other kinds of dishes. The best way to know whether you can eat it right away is to look at the back of the packaging and observe the manufacturer guideline. Most of the time, mochi is preserved in a cool room temperature to maintain the taste and texture, but some consumers prefer freshly made mochis from Japanese chefs.
Mochi is usually prepared intensively. Most of us can see this glutinous dessert in grocery stores packed in a plastic container with a ready-to-eat label; but Japanese often made their own mochi at home. First, they choose polished glutinous rice and soak and cook it overnight. When already prepared, the cooked rice will be pounded and sprinkled with a little amount of water through a wooden mallet and traditional mortar. This is not an easy thing to do because it requires force and coordination. Any mistake can injure the person so it is necessary to focus well while pounding and making the mochi. Once the right consistency and texture is obtained, various shapes are formed usually in cubes or spheres.
Enjoying a Nutritious Mochi
There are several individuals who cannot appreciate mochi because they are not familiar with this dessert or they are not used to eating glutinous rice. However, whether eaten in raw or cooked, mochi provides health benefits that anyone can enjoy. In the ancient times, mochi is eaten to sustain energy and heal different kinds of illnesses. Nowadays, this simple dessert has been found to be effective in promoting proper digestion. It contains a great amount of fiber so constipation is alleviated and an individual will have a regular bowel movement. Aside from that, it is said to contain calcium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals needed for pregnant mothers and people at different age groups. Thus, it is very common among Japanese to eat mochi regularly. This may be difficult to prepare but it is surely a healthy and nutritious food to take.