Among all the annual events in my hometown, mochi-making is the biggest one.
In my hometown, Henan, we only make mochi once a year, at the end of the Lunar New Year. In my hometown, Henan, we only make mochi once a year, at the end of the waxing moon, a delicacy prepared only for the New Year.
Soaking glutinous rice is the first step in making mochi, using a large jar. The amount of mochi made by a family depends on the population and the number of relatives in the family, as more people have more relatives, the consumption of mochi will be bigger. As a general rule, each family member has an average of one bucket of rice, which is about 40 pounds, for example, in my family, there are eight people, and we have to make 320 pounds of rice patties, which is a large amount.
Mochi making is a heavy physical work, a game of mochi, without ten or eight strong labor, simply can not take down, this strong labor, but also the general strong, forty years of age or more men, basically rest on the side.
So many people to work for you, and dry is the work of strength, the light meal is certainly not possible, must get a large table dishes, home cooking can not be, chicken, duck, fish, meat, eggs and tofu, not a less.
The second part of mochi is steaming rice, hundreds of pounds of rice, can not be steamed at once, there is no big container in rural areas, we have to steam one retort after another, the so-called retort is a large wooden barrel with a grate below and a lid above, because there is a lot of rice, the thickness is large, the general straw, wheat straw fire can not, need a fire, cotton sticks and branches, in order to be competent.
Steaming rice is the most critical process of playing patties, but also a most technical work, rice steamed, the following is good, the following is the work of strength, nothing technical. People may wonder, after thousands of years of eating rice, can't they even steam rice? That is not the same, usually steamed rice at home, a pot of rice is only three, five pounds of rice, at most ten pounds eight pounds, and steamed patties, a retort is forty pounds, half a person high thickness, must be fully cooked, can not have a little bit of raw rice, that will be the technology. The master of rice steaming is the technical leader of the patties, just like the master of the kiln fire, his experience determines the color of a kiln of goods.
After the glutinous rice is steamed, the master picks up a retort of rice and pours it into the nest of the ground, a cloud of hot air comes out and instantly fills the whole house. The glutinous rice dumplings are the most delicious, fragrant and chewy.
Then, it was time to hit the sledgehammer. When I was small, I used a stone hammer, one hammer was 20 to 30 pounds, and it was difficult for people to lift it. The key is that the mochi is sticky, so it is easy to smash it down, but hard to pull it out, and when the mochi is stuck, it is pulled for a long time, and it does not let go. Because it is too physically demanding, a group of up to five minutes, we have to change people, so, half an hour, the original grain of rice, full of crystal, was beaten into a soft and delicate mass, white as jade, warm as jade, even if it is good.
The next day, the owner cuts the cooled patties into squares of different sizes according to his preference, and puts them into a water tank to soak. The patties soaked in the water jar will not go bad for half a year, so you can eat them whenever you want and however you want: boiled, roasted, fried or deep-fried. They are delicious any way you want to eat them.