Kagami Biraki

Japanese kagamimochiAs promised a week ago, I actually did eat the kagami mochi yesterday, on the day of kagami biraki, the breaking of the mirror. When I opened the package, the mochi appeared clean with a shiny surface and a consistency a bit like that of a wax candle. It also had a similar taste, so that did not bode well for my cooking experiment.

Friends suggested that I cut off the hard outer shell of the mochi, but since I had left it in the package, it was clean and comparatively soft, so I did not do this. I did cut the two layers apart though, although I have read somewhere that cutting the mochi at all should be avoided for some reasons clouded in superstition. As I have a gas range, I could at least cook the mochi the recommended way – by simply frying it over open fire. In the beginning it was too hard to put a chopstick through, so I just stuck it onto a knife and held it over the flames.

For a while nothing happened, but then I could hear some crackling sound and the outer shell started to crack and crumble. Small pieces could be torn off and they were nice and crisp – and hot – and the inner part of the mochi was soft and sticky. Soon this part dried out and became crispy as well, so it was a little like eating chips.

While the consistency did improve, the taste did not, unfortunately. I had anticipated this and had prepared a nice salad to go with it, so it was fine. In hindsight, I should have probably put some soy sauce onto the mochi pieces before eating them, but obviously only a real Japanese would think of that. No photo of the finished meal this time, since I was busy frying and eating and I have not yet grown a third arm to hold a camera at the same time. Maybe next time…

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