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Dec 20, 2006 03:32 AM

Japanese New Year

Looking for suggestions for Japanese New Year's celebration. My mother in law usually does all the preps for this every year but as she is getting older, I would like to help. I am open to any suggestions and ideas. Please chime in with what you make for the big day. Thanks.

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  1. Ozoni (Japanese New Year's Soup)
    Serves 5

    5 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
    15 round slices daikon radish, around 1/8-inch thick*
    10 round slices carrot, around 1/8-inch thick*
    15 stalks spinach*
    3 shiitake mushrooms, sliced*
    5 Japanese (or 15 Korean) rice cakes**
    5 cups water
    2 pieces of kombu (kelp), each about 7-inches long*
    1 cup bonito flakes (dried fish, available at Asian markets)
    1 teaspoon salt*
    1 teaspoon soy sauce*

    Soak kelp in 5 cups of water for 30 minutes. Heat water until boiling and then remove kelp. Pour 1/4 cup cold water in soup to cool it down. Add bonito flakes to soup. The bonito flakes will sink. When they rise to the surface again, turn off the heat. Strain soup. Add salt and soy sauce.

    In a medium pot of boiling water, add pinch salt and cook the shrimp until pink and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the shrimp and let them stand in a bowl.

    In a medium pot of fresh boiling water, cook the daikon, carrot and mushroom slices 3 minutes. Add the spinach for the last 30 seconds. Drain and set aside in another bowl.

    Place rice cakes in a microwave oven-proof dish, cover with plastic wrap, and cook at medium power for 2 minutes. If you do not have a microwave oven, boil the rice cakes with the daikon, carrot and mushroom slices.

    Divide rice cakes, shrimp, daikon, carrot, mushrooms and spinach among 5 soup bowls. Pour soup over the ingredients in each soup bowl

    Kimpira gobo:

    1/2 pound gobo (burdock root), soaked for at least an hour or up to a day
    1/4 pound carrot
    1 tbsp soysauce
    1 tbsp sugar
    1 1/2 tbsp mirin
    1/4 - 1 t red pepper flakes
    2 T sake
    1 tsp sesame seeds
    2 tsps vegetable oil
    Peel the burdock and shred it into very thin strips. Soak the burdock strips in water for a while and drain well. Peel the carrot and cut it into short and thin strips. Put vegetable oil in a frying pan and put it on high heat. Add burdock strips and fry for a couple minutes. Add carrot strips in the pan and fry for a minute. Add all seasonings in the pan and stir well. Turn off the heat.
    *Makes 4 servings

    2 Replies
    1. re: rcallner

      Wow, RC! My favorite Japanese New Year's food is kimpira gobo! I had no idea how to make this (or ozoni or many of the other foods) but am willing to learn. Thanks for the recipes. I am going to start with the gobo.

      What about those rice cakes in the ozoni recipe? Can I substitute mochi or is that too far off of what the recipe calls for? I am helping at a mochitsuki at the temple where my daughters learned to play taiko drums for the last 10 years.

      1. re: dimsumgirl

        I like kimpira gobo, but even more I like kimpira hasu. You can follow much the same steps, but peel and slice the hasu into strips abour 1/2" wide by 4" long. The crunch is better and I find the hasu a lot easier to handle then gobo.

    2. I have not made it but you may want to look into Nishime.

      I have also heard that Soba noodle is frequently consumed for new years...longevity I assume?

      1. You "cross the noodle" from the old year into the new.

        1. In my time I've attended a great many Japaneese New Year's meals, and one of my favorite dishes was kombu make. I no longer have the recipe, but it's small chunks of pork rolled in soaked and cleaned strips of kombu (no wider that 2-1/2"), and tied with a strip of some kind of dried gourd. The resulting rolls are simmered in a soy-bonito broth with a good dash of mirin.

          1. The menu combines and balances nature's food from the mountain, the sea and the field.
            Ozoni-first dish to be served on New Years. Wishes for good health and prosperity.
            Centerpiece is tai-sea bream or ise ebi-lobster. Perch or red snapper is often substituted. The word omedetai-happiness or congratulation is traced to tai, king of all fish in Japan. A red lobster is presented for its festive color and because its curved spine is like that of an old person, symbolized old age and longevity. All seafood is served whole so that nothing is "broken."

            Gomame-dried sardines or anchovies-for health
            Kazunoko-herring roe- for fertility and many children
            Kuromame-black beans - incorporates several words. Often heard Mame desuka? or "Are you healthy?" Also in the dish are kombu, meaning joy; and kuri-chestnut meaning success, repeated over and over again.

            Kombu maki-rolled kelp-taken from the word yorokobu meaning glad or joyful
            Kachi-Kuri-kachi means to win; kuri chestnut-to win over and over again.
            Kamaboko-steamed fish-paste cake- red and white type. Is likened to the Japanese rising sun symbolizing patriotism, and white for purity and honesty.
            Renkon-lotus root- has many holes through which to foresee the future. It is also thought of as the Buddhist"Wheel of Life"
            Nishi-herring-to honor both parents.
            Root vegetables-roots in the ground, suggesting that family roots are also deep, such as gobo, daikon and carrots.
            There are recipes that include most of these ingredients in this cookbook. If you would like something particular, I would be happy to oblige.
            O-misoka soba-sumashi ozoni-nishime-kazunoko-Onishime-kombu maki-nishiki tamago-tamago yaki-kuromame-kinton-lima bean-kuri kinton-sweet potato paste with chestnuts-

            Adapted from the Centenary Church Cookbook

            4 Replies
            1. re: mochi mochi

              Wow! What a wealth of information. Thank you, mochimochi. I will print this out and save it. I will share this with my daughters, especially the oldest who will be spending spring semester in Kyoto, Japan as an exchange student. After I look at this more carefully, I might ask you for more details about one of these dishes.

              1. re: mochi mochi

                mochi mochi, I have a question for you over a year later! What kind of pot would it be traditional to make Ozoni in? And thank you for all of your helpful information!

                1. re: french roast

                  french roast, Sorry, I have no idea! We use a 2 quart 30 year old Magnalite pot.