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On this day, the Japanese promote the happiness and well-being of children. Kashiwa -mochi and chimaki are made especially for this celebration.
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Hishi mochi is a ceremonial dessert presented as a ritual offering on the days leading up to Hinamatsuri or "Girls' Day" in Japan. Hishi mochi is rhomboid-shaped mochi with layers of red, green, and white.
The three layers are coloured with jasmine flowers, water caltrop , and mugwort. Traditionally, mochi was made from whole rice, in a labor-intensive process. The traditional mochi -pounding ceremony in Japan is mochitsuki :. Mochi is prepared from a flour of sweet rice mochiko. The flour is mixed with water and cooked on a stovetop or in the microwave until it forms a sticky, opaque, white mass.
With modern equipment, mochi can be made at home, with the technology automating the laborious dough pounding. Varieties of glutinous and waxy rice are produced as major raw material for mochi. The rice is chosen for tensile strength and compressibility. One study found that in Kantomochi rice and BC3, amylopectin distribution varied and affected the hardness of mochi. Kantomochi rice produced harder, brittle, grainy textures, all undesirable qualities except for ease of cutting.
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Generally, two types of machines are used for mochi production in an assembly line. One machine prepares the dough, while the other forms the dough into consistent shapes, unfilled or with filling. The first type of machine controls the temperature at which the rice gelatinizes. Mochi is a variation of a low-calorie, low-fat rice cake. The cake has two essential raw materials, rice and water. Sticky rice also called sweet rice, Oryza sativa var. Water is essential in the early stages of preparation. Other additives such as salt and other seasonings and flavourings are important in terms of nutritive value and taste.
However, additives can cause breakage of the mass, so should not be added to the rice before the cake is formed. The cake must be steamed rather than boiled until it gains a smooth and elastic texture. The balls of rice are then flattened, cut into pieces, or shaped into rounds. The best preservation for mochi is refrigeration for a short storage period.
For preserving larger batches over an extended time, freezing is recommended. The best method for freezing involves wrapping each mochi cake tightly in a sealed plastic bag. Although mochi can be kept in a freezer for almost one year, the frozen mochi may lose flavor and softness or get freezer-burned. Mochi is relatively simple to make, as only a few ingredients are needed for plain, natural mochi. The main ingredient is either Shiratamako or Mochiko , Japanese sweet glutinous rice flours.
Both Shiratamako and Mochiko are made from mochigome , a type of Japanese glutinous short-grain rice. The difference between Shiratamako and Mochiko comes from texture and processing methods. Shiratamako flour has been more refined and is a finer flour with a smoother, more elastic feel. Other ingredients may include water, sugar, and cornstarch to prevent sticking. The caloric content of a matchbox -sized piece of mochi is comparable to that of a bowl of rice.
Japanese farmers were known to consume it during the winter to increase their stamina, while the Japanese samurai took mochi on their expeditions, as it was easy to carry and prepare. A single serving of Amylose and amylopectin are both components of starch and polysaccharides made from D- glucose units. Glutinous or waxy type of starches occur in maize, sorghum, wheat, and rice.
An interesting characteristic of glutinous rice is that it stains red when iodine is added, whereas nonglutinous rice stains blue. Penta-iodide intercalates between the starch molecules and stains amylose and amylopectin blue and red, respectively. Though the amylopectin content plays a major role in the defined characteristic of viscosity in glutinous rice, factors such as heat also play a very important role in the swelling, since it enhances the uptake of water into the starch granule significantly. The high amylopectin content of waxy or glutinous starches is genetically controlled by the waxy or wax gene.
Its quality of greater viscosity and gelation is dependent on the distribution of the amylopectin unit chains. The soaking of the glutinous rice is an elemental step in the preparation of mochi, either traditionally or industrially. During this process, glutinous rice decreases in protein content as it is soaked in water. The chemicals that make up the flavour of plain or "natural" mochi are ethyl ester acetic acid, ethanol, 2-butanol, 2 methyl 1-propanol, 1-butanol, 3-methyl 1 butanol, 1-pentanol and propane acid. Mochi is usually composed solely of glutinous rice, however, some variations may include the additions of salt, spices and flavourings such as cinnamon cinnamaldehyde.
Additives that slow down retrogradation are not usually added since amylopectin has a very stable shelf life due to its high amylopectin content. Mochi's characteristic chewiness is due to the polysaccharides in it. The viscosity and elasticity that account for this chewiness are affected by many factors such as the starch concentration, configuration of the swollen starch granules, the conditions of heating temperature, heating period and rate of heating as well as the junction zones that interconnect each polymer chain.
The more junction zones the substance has, the stronger the cohesiveness of the gel, thereby forming a more solid-like material. The perfect mochi has the perfect balance between viscosity and elasticity so that it is not inextensible and fragile but rather extensible yet firm. Many tests have been conducted on the factors that affect the viscoelastic properties of mochi.
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As puncture tests show, samples with a higher solid polysaccharide content show an increased resistance and thereby a stronger and tougher gel. This increased resistance to the puncture test indicate that an increase in solute concentration leads to a more rigid and harder gel with an increased cohesiveness, internal binding, elasticity and springiness which means a decrease in material flow or an increase in viscosity. These results can also be brought about by an increase in heating time. Sensory assessments of the hardness, stickiness and elasticity of mochi and their relationship with solute concentration and heating time were performed.
Similar to the puncture test results, sensory tests determine that hardness and elasticity increase with increasing time of heating and solid concentration. However, stickiness of the samples increase with increasing time of heating and solid concentration until a certain level, above which the reverse is observed. These relationships are important because too hard or elastic a mochi is undesirable, as is one that is too sticky and will stick to walls of the container. Suffocation deaths are caused by mochi every year in Japan, especially among elderly people.
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Between and , 18 people died from choking on mochi in the Japanese capital, according to the city's fire department. In , Japanese media reported eight mochi-related deaths in Tokyo in January. Every year, Japanese authorities warn people to cut mochi into small pieces before eating it. The Tokyo Fire Department even has a website offering tips on how to help someone choking on mochi. Though mochi is often consumed alone as a major component of a main meal, it is often used as an ingredient in many other prepared foods. Many types of traditional wagashi and mochigashi Japanese traditional sweets are made with mochi.
For example, daifuku is a soft round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, such as sweetened red bean paste anko or white bean paste shiro an.
Ichigo daifuku is a version containing a whole strawberry inside. Kusa mochi is a green variety of mochi flavored with yomogi mugwort. When daifuku is made with kusa mochi , it is called yomogi daifuku. Small balls of ice cream are wrapped inside a mochi covering to make mochi ice cream. In Japan, this is manufactured by the conglomerate Lotte under the name Yukimi Daifuku , "snow-viewing daifuku".
Traditional Hakka tauchi is served as glutinous rice dough, covered with peanut or sesame powder. Not until the Japanese era was Japanese-style mochi introduced and gain popularity.
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Nowadays, Taiwanese mochi often comes with bean paste fillings.
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