Mochi are Japanese sweets made from pounded sticky rice and normally filled with sweet red bean paste. You have probably read me talking about them before, or heard me writing about them, becuase I love love love them. Mmmm awesome chewy rice and sweet beany filling! Can’t get enough!
You can therefore imagine my excitement when I found out that the parents of Junko, a Japanese friend of ours (Sharifa and myself) run a sweet shop and bakery just up the road! Whilst I wait and keep my fingers crossed that they get a big mochi order to fulfil so that I can go and watch, Junko did let me into the kitchen to have a nose around.
I asked her how they pound the rice for the mochi when they’re made on such a big scale, and she said they use a machine. I assumed it would be a closed machine – like a metal box with rollers or something – that you put rice in and it comes out a smooth paste at the other end. What I didn’t expect was the below, which is basically an automated version of how it is done by hand, the only difference being the hammer is lifted automatically and not by hand. I would guess that the machine is about two and a half to three metres high, and the bowl about 40cm across.
The picture below shows the various machines which are used to steam the rice before it is pounded:
The kitchen is also used to make Western cakes and biscuits, and had similar machines to the ones we had when I was a chef many moons ago. Here are a few implements, just coz I like kitchen gadgetry :)