Tag: Tips

What is Mochi? A beginner’s guide to Mochi

What is Mochi? A beginner’s guide to Mochi

Mochi has been very popular all over the world. And I am sure you see many sweets or dishes that use Mochi nowadays. However, what is actually Mochi? How it’s made? How you can eat…? Let’s learn together a few basic facts about Mochi! φ(・ω・ )

 

What is Mochi?

Mochi is a Japanese dish with a unique soft, squishy and chewy texture, which is made from a kind of glutinous rice.

Traditionally, mochi was served as a special dish at various celebrations (This is still a traditional that remains today). However, in recent years people in Japan have become able to enjoy Mochi as a familiar everyday commodity.

 

How is Mochi made?

There are 2 different ways to make mochi. The first is made by steaming glutinous rice, and then pounding it into a shape. Another is made by drying glutinous rice into a mochi powder (this powder called Mochiko/sweet rice flour), and then adding water to eventually steam it, which turns it into a Mochi.

However, the former is said to capture a more delectable scent of rice.

Related post: how to make mochi at home : 3 easy ways

 

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What does Mochi taste like?

Mochi is made from water and glutinous rice, so it captures the pure and simple taste of rice. To add flavor, mochi is often topped with various sauces, and matched with other foods.

 

How to eat Mochi?

Japanese people typically use Kiri-Mochi for Mochi dishes. Kiri-Mochi is dried Mochi that is cut in pieces. To eat this type of Mochi, you need to warm it up first until it expands and softens by grilling or steaming it. Then you can add a sauce of your choice on it (such as soy sauce, anko sauce, black & sweet black sesame sauce and many others).

Mochi is very versatile food! It is frequently used as a base ingredient in many traditional Japanese dishes and sweets.

 

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What are the popular Mochi sweets?

There are many different Japanese sweets that use Mochi as base ingredient. Dango is a dish comprised of small round pieces of Mochi served on a skewer and topped with sauce. In addition, there is a widely popular sweet called daifuku, which consists of round ball of Mochi with a type of red bean paste called anko stuffed into its core.

Related post: the easiest and delicious chocolate mochi recipe in 5min using microwave!

Related post: top 10 popular japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

Recently, ice cream that is covered with Mochi pieces, called Mochi Ice Cream, has been very popular.

 

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Is Mochi healthy?

Since Mochi itself is made of rice and water, it is a vegan food. It enables you to consume high-quality carbs easily. Some data shows that that eating Mochi for breakfast is healthy.

Related post: eat mochi for breakfast and be healthy! how to eat mochi as a meal

 

Where to buy Mochi?

I think you can buy Kiri-Mochi that is dried and can be used for many dishes at Japanese/Asian grocery stores in your country.

 

Hope you like Mochi even more now! (*´∀`*)
I will post more interesting information and recipes that use Mochi in the future. Let me know if you want more about Mochi or Japanese culture!

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

What is Matcha? Basics of Matcha green tea from Japanese people

What is Matcha? Basics of Matcha green tea from Japanese people

Matcha popularity has been growing at a fast pace all over the world. When I travel overseas to see my friends they often ask me to bring some real Japanese Matcha for them!But, how much do you really know about Matcha? Allow me to tell you few basic things about Matcha that you may find useful! φ(・ω・ )

 

What is Matcha?

Matcha is one of the traditional teas of Japan, made by pounding tencha leaves into a powdered green tea using a stone mortar. Tencha is a green tea cultivated without exposure to sunlight, with few astringent catechins, for a strong bodied and flavorful tea.

In Japanese homes, green tea is generally drank on a daily basis rather than Matcha. This is because, while Matcha is made from green tea, it is a high class item that can only be produced from good quality, high grade tea. Matcha is typically drank at the formal tea parties that make up Sado (茶道: tea ceremony), a traditional Japanese cultural practice.

However, in these days, you see many cafes provide Matcha and you can enjoy Matcha more easily and casually on daily basis.

Related post: my recommended 3 cafes in tokyo where you can enjoy matcha and high-grade japanese sweets

Related post: matcha vs green tea. matcha is not just a powdered green tea!

 

 

How to drink/prepare Matcha?

The way of making a cup of Matcha is different from the way of brewing tea. Here is an easy and basic way to make a cup of Matcha tea.

Related post: matcha utensils! what tools do you need to make matcha tea?

You will need Matcha powder, hot water, a bowl and a whisk.
1. Put 2g of Matcha powder into a steady bowl.
2. Pour 60ml of hot (80℃/175℉ is the best) water into the bowl.
3. Whisk quickly for about 15 seconds with a bamboo whisk*, making “m” shape, until your drink gets frothy. *if you don’t have a bamboo whisk, a metal whisk also works!

In Japanese tea ceremonies (Sado), Matcha is drunk hot without sugar. However, other than Sado, you can of course add sugar. You can even add ice cubes to make it cold or add milk to make Matcha latte (Matcha drink + milk) is very good too.
Many people enjoy Matcha with delicious sweets. Nowadays some Western sweets made to complement Matcha drink well, including cookies or muffins!

However, most Japanese Enjoy Matcha with traditional Japanese sweets Wagashi. Wagashi was developed to complement Sado and Matcha drinking ceremonies, not only from taste (typical Matcha is unsweetened and bitter when you drink), but also from looks and sound perspectives.

Related post: wagashi and matcha – combination polished through ages!

 

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What are health benefits of Matcha?

Matcha uses the entirety of the tea itself, so it contains all of the tea leaves’ nutrients. It is said that one cup of Matcha contains as many nutrients as ten cups of green tea.

It contains many of the nutrients held by tea leaves, such as catechins and teanines, as well as vitamins and fiber. Furthermore, it contains almost zero calories! For this reason, it has gained attention as a superfood.

Related post: can matcha contribute to weight loss? matcha is really a superfood!

Of course, being a tea it also contains caffeine. For that reason, try to avoid excessive intake, and drink no more than two to three 200ml cups per day for an adult.

 

What is the best brand of Matcha?

The best brand of Matcha is Uji Matcha, which is Matcha made in Uji region in Kyoto, Japan. It is one of famous regions where Matcha is made. It is often said that Uji Matcha has vivid green color, strong rich aroma and lots of umami flavor. But there are lots of good Matcha that are made in other regions too, and of course, the taste and flavor is different depending on farms and makers as well. So please try different brands of Matcha and find your favorite Matcha!

 

 

Where to buy Matcha powder?

Probably you can find Matcha powder at your local organic grocery stores or Japanese/Asian grocery stores. As for high-quality Uji Matcha powder, you can buy it from online or AMAZON.

 

Hope you know why people are obsessed with Matcha now! Matcha is delicious, healthy and easy to make! ◝(・ω・)◟
Please let me know if you want more about Matcha or Japanese culture!

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Wagashi are unique sweets with more than 300 years of history

Wagashi are unique sweets with more than 300 years of history

Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets, have unique history and developed with limited influence from typical Western sweets. Nowadays Wagashi are added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Let’s learn its unique and interesting history together! φ(・ω・ )

 

 

First confections were fruits and nuts in ancient Japan

First traces of sweets making in Japan date back to back to Yayoi period (300 BC–300 AD), when first mentions of Japanese sweets in form of just fruits and nuts, such as persimmon and chestnuts, were found. In those times without the techniques for processing food, the sweetness of fruits would have felt like a special blessing, which is perhaps why they were distinguished from staple foods. These were the first examples of snacks and treats In Japan.

 

 

Later, the drying of fruit in the sun and the grinding of fruit for preservation came into practice. It’s said that the Dango originates from the practice of grinding fruit into a powder and soaking in water to remove harshness before rolling into a dumpling shape and cooking.

Related post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango

 

The creation of first Mochi

Before long, Mochi—said to be Japan’s oldest processed food—was created. As it was made from rice, which at the time was more important than any other food, Mochi was treated as a divine creation. The legacy of this can be witnessed in Japan’s important traditional events where Mochi is often eaten or presented as an offering.

Related post: what is mochi? a beginner’s guide to mochi

 

The influence of confections from China

In the 7th century, confectionery methods from China were introduced. Compared to the simple processing of grains, this produced distinctive confections of superior taste, appearance, and manufacturing. It is said that this had a huge influence on Japanese confectionery.

In addition, sugar was imported in this period (around 750AD). However, as sugar was very valuable at the time, it was used in medicine rather than for confections.

 

Wagashi was developed together with Japanese tea ceremony

During Edo period (1603-1867) Japanese agriculture productivity and knowledge improved significantly. During that period Japanese tea making ceremony developed significantly, and as Wagashi were crucial part of tea ceremonies at that time, demand for Wagashi improved greatly as well.

Many kinds of Wagashi were invented and became very popular during that period. At the end of Edo period, Wagashi was perfected into the style as we know today.

 

 

 

Because of its uniqueness, Wagashi was added to the UNESCO World Heritage

Generally, Wagashi are very different from Western sweets because through most of its history Japan was isolated country with very limited influence from neighboring cultures. Western sweets began to spread in Japan only in the 19th century (Meiji Restoration). Nowadays Wagashi officially recognized one of Japan’s intangible heritage as approved by UNESCO in 2013.

 
 

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)