|Mini Jizo statues picture courtesy of Wikipedia|
So he unfastened the five new hats from his back and began tying them, one by one, on the heads of the Jizo statues.
When he came to the last statue he suddenly realized that all the hats were gone. "Oh, my!" he said, "I don't have enough hats." But then he remembered his own hat. So he took it off his head and tied it on the head of the last Jizo. Then he went on his way home.
When he reached his house the old woman was waiting for him by the fire. She took one look at him and cried: "You must be frozen half to death. Quick! Come to the fire. What did you do with your hat?"
The old man shook the snow out of his hair and came to the fire. He told the old woman how he had given all the new hats, and even his own hat, to the six stone Jizo. He told her he was sorry that he hadn't been able to bring any rice-cakes.
"My! That was a very kind thing you did for the Jizo," said the old woman. She was very proud of the old man, and went on: "It's better to do a kind thing like that than to have all the rice-cakes in the world. We'll get along without any rice-cakes for New Year's."
By this time it was late at night, so the old man and woman went to bed. And just before dawn, while they were still asleep, a very wonderful thing happened. Suddenly there was the sound of voices in the distance, singing:
"A kind old man walking in the snow
Gave all his hats to the stone Jizo.
So we bring him gifts with a yo-heave-ho!"
The voices came nearer and nearer, and then you could hear the sound of footsteps on the snow.
The sounds came right up to the house where the old man and woman were sleeping. And then all at once there was a great noise, as though something had been put down just in front of the house.
"Whoever could have brought us such a wonderful gift?" they said, and looked about wonderingly.
My friends at Wiki have the following information about Japanese Rice Cakes aka Mochi:
Mochi (Japanese: 餅) is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice (not to be confused with gluten) pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki. While also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time. Mochi is also a prominent snack in Hawaii, South Korea, Taiwan (where it is called 麻糬, Hokkien môa-chî or Mandarin máshu), Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Mochi can be made in many flavors and colors! Kids will love this!
The following Mochi recipe is simple and can be made in a steamer or in the microwave. The video below the recipe demonstrates both methods of making mochi.
Mochi Recipe ( Japanese Rice Cake Recipe )
Mochi dough recipe :
2 cups water
2 cups glutinous rice flour ( mochiko )
1 cup sugar
potato starch, or soy bean flour for dusting ( katakuriko, or kinako )
1 tbsp strawberry jam ( optional )
1/4 tsp pandan ( screwpine leaf ) extract ( optional )
1) Sieve glutinous rice flour in a big bowl ( to prevent clumps) and set aside.
2) Mix sifted glutinous rice flour, sugar and 2 cups water in a bowl. ( optional: add strawberry jam for pink mochi dough or pandan extract for green mochi dough)
3) Making mochi
Steaming method : pour flour mixture into an oiled pan. Place in steamer and steam on medium for 30-45 minutes.
Microwave method : pour flour mixture into an oiled microwavable pan. Microwave 10-15 minutes covered.
4) Dust some potato starch ( Katakuriko ) over a large flat-surfaced board. Knead dough until a smooth texture is achieved.
5) Shape dough into mini-logs and cut into bite-sized portions.
6) Fill or top dough with your favorite stuffing or topping.
recipe found at Melting Wok