Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with homemade mochi in a variety of fun shapes and flavors.
With the Year of the Rabbit just around the corner (beginning on January 22), our minds are on Lunar New Year. In Japanese culture, mochi—a sticky rice cake made from short-grain rice—plays a starring role in the holiday. Mochi is seen as an omen of good fortune, so making mochi at the beginning of the year represents bringing good luck into the months ahead.
Mochi itself comes in many shapes and sizes: It can be made by pounding, steaming, baking, boiling, or even microwaving the ingredients, and it can lean sweet or savory, depending on how it’s prepared. Kaori Becker grew up eating mochi and, inspired by her mother and grandmother’s cooking and her love of dango, daifuku mochi, and mochi-based baked goods, she founded Kaori’s Kitchen, a cooking school where she and her mother teach mochi, ramen, and other Japanese and Asian cooking classes. Their popular five-course mochi-making classes inspired the creation of Mochi Magic, a beautiful book that teaches readers how to prepare the Japanese treat at home. (For more on everything Kaori loves about mochi, check out this interview with her.)
This Lunar New Year, treat yourself to a little mochi magic in your very own kitchen, with Kaori’s recipe for chocolate mochi and chocolate truffle filling.
Want to go above and beyond, and create the cutest mochi ever? Make your own nerikiri dough, dye it the colors of your choice, and craft a cast of mochi characters!
Bring a Little Mochi Magic to Your Lunar New Year was originally written for Connected Dots Media by Megan McCrea on January 16, 2022, and updated on January 17, 2023. Reposted with permission. Excerpts from Mochi Magic © Kaori Becker. Photos © Nordeck Photography.
Storey Digital Editors
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