Fried Mochi sprinkled with Ao-Nori seaweed
Before leaving for Tokyo, I needed to put away the Kagami Mochi.
It has been decorating my home in Santa Monica since the first of the year.
The Japanese ceremony of putting the Kagami mochi away is called Kagami biraki;
literally, it translates to "Open the mirror" or "Breaking of the Mochi." The mochi is broken into small pieces with your hands and a hammer. Usually it is done on the 11th day of the New Year and as the description suggests, you are officially open for business.
Nowadays, many Japanese people don't bother decorating the home with fresh Kagami Mochi. Artificial mochi made of plastic and ceramic have become popular substitutes since hardly anyone make mochi at home. I was lucky to find fresh mochi in Los Angeles at my local Japanese market because I don't like the idea of using artificial food for this occasion.
Old Kagami mochi is perfectly edible and good, but it will get hard and a little bit moldy, especially if you live in a humid climate. But once cleaned, mochi can be deep fried to make Age-mochii or boil ed and used it in sweet azuki bean soup
. If you don't have Kagami-mochi, you can use regular mochi for the recipe.
10 day old Kagami mochi, cracking in places. The green mold grows where the two discs touch.
Scraping the mold off the mochi is a little laborious but I find it rather meditative.
It took me about ten minutes to clean the mochi.
Break the mochi discs with your hands or a hammer. Use a sharp
knife to srape off the mold.
Deep frying mochi.
Paper towels remove excess oil on the fried mochi.
I start munching the moment they come out of the oil!
You can sprinkle fried mochi with salt. Also good is with Aonori seaweed flakes, which are sold in a glass jar or in little packets at the Japanese markets. If you like it hot, try Shichimi-pepper.
Age Mochi - Deep-Fried Mochi - Recipe:
Makes 4-6 servings (appetizers)
4-6 pieces of mochi
2-3 cups Vegetable oil for deep frying
Salt, Shichimi Pepper, Aonori-seaweed flakes for sprinkling
Use week old mochi that is hardened. Scrape off mold, if any. Break the mochi with your hand unto small edible pieces. You can also use a hammer.
Heat oil to 325-350F in a cast iron pan. Use enough oil so it is about 1 inch in depth.
Fry one side until the mochi is browned, flip the mochi pieces over and brown the other side.
Pat dry on paper towel and sprinkle the mochi pieces with salt and other sprinkles of your choice.
Serve while the mochi is piping hot.