Presently, Kojima makes thousands of pounds of brown rice mochi every month, using methods he has developed through the years. His seven-day process begins by steaming 1,200 pounds of sweet brown rice, which yields about 1,600 pounds of mochi. The steamed rice is passed through a grinder that is similar to, but much larger than, the hand grinder used to chop meat. Grinding changes the whole grains of sweet brown rice into a sticky dough.
Next, the sweet-rice dough is pounded about sixty times by a uniquely designed automatic pounding machine. During the pounding stage, individual grains of rice are further broken down until they form a smooth, sticky mass. Kojima feels this hard pounding is what gives mochi its concentrated energy.
After pounding, while the mochi is still warm and soft, it is placed in molding boxes to set. The boxes are then placed in a refrigerator for three days.
The chilled mochi is cut easily into small blocks (approximately 1 x 2 inches). To prevent spoilage, Kojima immediately vacuum-packs his mochi and then sterilizes it by using steam heat. The complex packaging process gives Kojima's mochi a one-year shelf life and enables him to ship his product around the world.
In Japan, as well as North America, Kojima's most popular mochi is made with 100 percent sweet brown rice. However, he also makes other types of mochi by adding millet, mugwort, or black sesame seeds to the sweet brown rice.
A word of caution: it is possible to eat too much mochi, especially Kojima's mochi. Mochi has a way of growing in your stomach. Oddly, in Japan the antidote for eating too much mochi is more rice! Nanakusa (seven herbs of spring), which is a simple rice gruel cooked with seven herbs, is often served around the holidays to relieve a bloated stomach. However, we've discovered that the best way to survive a mochi feast is with a long walk.