Japanese pastries cuisine mocchi traditions

During the end of the year celebrations, a cake causes several deaths in Japan every year! Small zoom on a preparation with murderous powers: the mochi

What is mochi?

Mochi (餅) is a cake (keiki, ケ ー キ) of Chinese origin. In the land of the Rising Sun, its birthplace is Nara, a city not far from Kyoto, capital of the prefecture bearing the same name. It is prepared by kneading sticky rice by hand. After cooking, the mochi is pounded and incorporated into various sweet or savory recipes. According to some estimates, the Japanese consume nearly a kilo of it each year, mainly during the New Year’s holidays. It is an okashi (お 菓子), something that is usually enjoyed as a snack or to be nibbled on without a meal.

There is so much interest in mochi making that many workshops are setting up in the streets to attract the public. The task probably requires a lot of effort and a good synchronization of the various actors (under penalty of being slapped on the fingers…). Demonstration in pictures:

How does this cake present a risk?

Rest assured, mochi does not especially cause an allergy. It must be said that its composition is quite basic: sticky rice, sugar, water and no gluten. In reality, the problem stems from its texture. Both sticky and elastic, this cake has another drawback: it is very good. With green tea, coconut or red beans, there is something to satisfy all taste buds. Concretely, the Japanese love it and therefore do not always take the time to chew it well. Consumed quickly, mochi therefore becomes a source of suffocation and gourmets therefore end up in emergencies or die from suffocation. The figures given by the media show that the victims are mainly people over 65 years old. They represent 90% of all cases of suffocation.

To give an example, at the beginning of 2015, nearly 10 people did not survive mochi and nearly 130 others had to be hospitalized …

Words learned in this article:

Cakes (of foreign origin): ケ ー キ (keiki, from the English “cake”)
Okashi : お 菓子 (to design snacks, things to nibble on outside of meals …)
Mochi :

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