New Year’s Kagami Mochi

Kagami mochi is a traditional Japanese New Year’s treat that acts as a decoration in many homes during the first days of a new year. Supermarkets begin selling kagami (“mirror”) mochi in November and December, but why not try your hand at making it at home?

The two mochi discs are variously said to symbolize the going and coming years, the human heart, “yin” and “yang”, or the moon and the sun. The two white discs are often topped with a daidai (bitter orange) to give it its recognizable appearance.


1:2 ratio of glutinous rice to water (2 cups rice to 4 cups water)


1. Cook rice in either a rice cooker or traditional stovetop method. (Add rice and water to a pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until water has been absorbed.)

2. Add cooked rice to Kitchenaid stand mixer. Have spatula ready to scrape down sides and hot water available to add if mixture becomes dry and unworkable.

This stand mixer process involves 2 stages:

  1. “Knead” with a dough hook for 3 minutes – repeat 4 times [total 12 minutes]
  2. “Pound” with a flat beater for 30 seconds – repeat 4 times [total 2 minutes]

3. Coat your hands, work surface, and mochi in potato (or corn) starch. Shape the mochi into small balls using a pinch-and-twist method rather than pulling. Make sure to coat any sticky surface of mochi with the starch.

Decorate mochi with a persimmon (for kagami mochi) and set on display until kagami biraki, the day of “breaking mochi,” on January 11th.

Mochi can be used in traditional New Years ozoni soup or baked into delicious rice cakes. The possibilities are endless!


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