Yoshizen's Blog

Japanese New Year’s Cooking = Ozoni

In Japanese New Year, eating Ozoni (rice-cake in soup) has almost ceremonial importance.

Though, the meaning of its name Ozoni (お雑煮) is unceremoniously humble = Jumble soup.

As Japanese staple diet is rice, anything else is accompanying dishes and a soup, since the rice got its own

taste, it has to be individually appreciated = it’s mean, put the rice together with something else is looked

down as jumble, such as Zousui (rice in the soup. —– Put a rice into Miso-soup was called Ojiya and this word

was used to describe a things in a mess = even a design which got few contradictory concept together would

be mocked as  “ It’s an Ojiya”   😀 )

So, to put a (or two) rice cake into a soup is Zoni. (put O to Zoni is a bit more polite expression).

To be a Japanese, it is [the must have cooking] though, there is no fixed style, and the

ingredients of the soup vary a lot, region to region and a family to family. —– nobody knows

the reason why, but in the western Japan (Kansai)  Zouni is based on a Miso-soup and the east of Sekiga-hara,

Zoni is the Kanto style, on a Soy-source based clear soup = Smashi-jiru.  (It’s a fun to know, in the

western Japan,  people makes Ozoni with  round shaped Rice Cake (made like a dumplings)   🙂

As I grown up in Tokyo, my style is Kanto-fu, and this is Yoshizen’s adaptation to make it in England  🙂

The ingredients, photo above are, (from the left) ;

*   Dried Shitake Mushroom, from a Chinese food shop. (from Taiwan seems to be the best )

(Don’t buy so-called fresh Shiitake grown in this country under artificial light = they are tasteless.

Shiitake got to be grown and dried under the strong sun light = Hence they are very rich in Vitamin D)

*   Dried Kombu (Kelp sea-weed) from a Chinese food shop.

*   Lime fruits. ( Yes, Lime —– substitute of Japanese Yuzu Lemon)

*   Glutinous Rice Powder from a Chinese food shop (Must be Glutinous ! )

*   Mangetout Beans (or can be a bunch of Spinach —– to add a green color  🙂 )

*   Onion (one medium size for 4~5 people)

*   Japanese Soy-sauce (Can not be a Chinese Soy-sauce.  It never be the taste same )

*   Chicken (I’m buying Chicken thigh to cut it into small pieces)

Preparation and cooking for 4~5 people ; ( see the photo above)

*   Make Rice-Cake according to the post [Make Rice Cake in 15 minutes] (Please click here)

(Hardest part is to take cooked cake out of a plastic container — cover them with potato starch)

*   Quick flush 5 Dried Shitake Mushrooms under running water, then soak them in the 2 cups of water in a small

pan and heat them ( but not boil —– to soften them.  Keep this water as Dashi !)

*   After well washed, put two of 4 inch square Kombu (Kelp) into 7 inches pan with just enough water to

boil them once.  Drain the water, then put 2 cups of fresh water into the pan and boil.

*   Take softened Shiitake out and cut each of them to 4~6 strips, then put the warm water which the Shitake has

been soaked, into the pan where Kombu has been boiled (now the pan got 4 cups of water).

Boil the Shiitake and Kombu, then put sliced onion too, for another 30 minutes.

*   While Kombu, Shiitake, Onion are boiling, cut the Chicken (2 pieces of thighs) to small pieces and add to the

boiling pan. If you like thick rich taste, use the skin of chicken as well, otherwise remove the skin.

(Of cause, it can be done without Chicken or alternatively, use Fried tofu is an idea for a vegetarian.)

Then boil yet another 10 minutes.

—– As those ingredients acted to make the Soup Dashi as well, the soup is now very tasty.

*   Then put the Soy-sauce according to your taste (in fact a lots,

may be 100 ml ? = 1/10th ~ 1/15th of the amount of the soup)

*    Put prepared Rice Cake (3×2 inches size)  one for each person

—-and Mange tout Bean, then boil further 3 minutes.

*     Make small cut pieces of Lime skin (see the photo left) and

sprinkle them into the soup. (10 pieces like photo is enough)

Then the Ozoni is ready to serve.  🙂

(Everybody must be amazed the tiny amount of the lime skin

Changed the taste so good  !  = this is the Japanese Art of cooking)


 ( A sort of Health warning )

Never eat Rice Cake in one big chunk —– as they are very chewy and sticky, never attempt to swallow in

big chunk.  It will stuck in your throat (every year tens of the Japanese people died with suffocation)

Otherwise, enjoy an Ozoni  and  have a Happy New Year  🙂


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