This is a typical dish for me around the New Year. Actually we used to have it before the New Year.
We steam very sticky rice (mochi rice) and pound and knead it until it gets smoothly sticky without rice grains (or some people likes to keep some texture).
We shape it into flat balls and decorate them in the house, which is one of the New Year decorations in Japan. Mochi gets wrinkled and hardens as you leave it, so you have to work with it very quickly. When I was little this was the most exciting job for the New Year preparations as we made hundreds like a factory!
Anyway you can also have the fresh state with greens or azuki beans and such. You might be able to get mochi in London but you have to come over to Japan to have fresh ones. (Ideally around the New Year!) 
With hard mochi you cook it in soup (there are some variations of the soup depending on the area and the family tradition) or bake it and have it with soy sauce and nori, with kinako (grounded soy bean powder) or with azuki bean sweet soup etc.
I feel like I've been missing a lot...! 


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