Omochi is one of my favorite Japanese desserts. Omochi is made by pounding rice together, ultimately creating a concentrated rice ball that is sticky and sweet. There are many different toppings that are placed on omochi to enhance its flavor. One of these toppings is called ‘kinako,’ which is a sweet yellow powder that is placed on top of the omochi. It is very delicious and creates a unique texture to the sticky ball of rice.
In addition to kinako topping, there is another topping which is a sweetened azuki bean paste called ‘anko.’ Anko and kinako have very different flavors, but in my opinion, each is tasty. My favorite type of omochi is called dangou. Dangou are small balls of omochi, usually covered in a sweet paste. My favorite type of dangou is an anko dangou as it a sweet treat to eat after a long day.
Many places sell omochi, such as convenience stores, but there are many opportunities to make omochi yourself, since the ingredients are not very complicated. Although you can easily make omochi in the comfort of your own home, it’s just as easy to make omochi on other occasions that allow for the opportunity.
There are many other places to make omochi outside of your home. One of the places you can make omochi is at Japanese festivals called omatsuris. At some of these Japanese festivals, they perform what is called a mochi-pounding ceremony. At these mochi-pounding ceremonies, one person hammers the mochi, while another person moves the mochi after each hammer swing. If you have never seen a mochi-pounding ceremony before, it is incredibly exciting to watch. There is a very rhythmic pattern to the ceremony, and the hammer swings and movements occur at a fast pace. Watching the original ball of rice turn into a masterpiece of omochi is very interesting and cool to watch, so I encourage you to go watch if you ever have the opportunity!
Although omochi is mainly eaten on celebratory or religious occasions, it is also eaten as a regular snack from time to time. Omochi is an amazing Japanese food, so I encourage you to try it!