Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu (Happy New Year)! As Christmas trees decorate American homes during holiday, Kagami-mochi decorate a room in Japanese house from the end of yeaer (December 28th). It is an offering to the god who protected us during the old year (he departs and new god arrives in the New Year).
Kagami-mochi is actually a rice cake decoration that comes in two parts – small round rice cake (mochi ) sits on a larger round rice cake. On top of the rice cake is a tangerine – in Japan a mikan. You can see the decorated Kagami-mochi in the photo shown here behind osechi ryori (New Year’s feast). On January 11th my mother in Tokyo always whacked the hardened decoration with heavy kitchen hammer and broke the rice cake into small pieces from which she prepared delicious snacks. One is oshiruko (tender simmered or grilled rice cake served with sweet azuki bean soup) and the other, agemochi (deep-fried crisp rice cake). Every year my mother repeated the same message to us: “Sharing Kagami-mochi on this particular day in the year (January 11th) ensures family’s healthy throughout the year. I will post the recipes of oshiruko and agemochi on Janyary 11th.