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How to Cook "Ozoni", a Traditional Japanese New Year Dish

What would you like to eat for New Year’s?

In Japan, people eat various kinds of traditional New Year-related cuisine including Osechi and sea bream dishes, etc. Ozoni is one of them.

Today we are going to tell you about history of Ozoni and how to cook it.

History of Ozoni

Ozoni is a kind of soup containing Japanese white radish, carrot, chicken, Mochi (rice cake) or whatever you like.

It is a very old traditional cuisine that was already eaten in A.D. 1000. Its common style is to put favorite ingredients insoup, such as white radish, carrot, chicken, and Mochi (rice cake).

Japan has been thriving with rice cultivation since antient times, and rice is the main staple food. In those days, Ozoni was originally eaten on special occasions or celebrations to wish good luck. Then,when did people start to eat it for New Year? It is said it originates from a custom of eating vegetables after placing them in front of the altar and boiling in purified water.

Ozoni varies depending on locale; however, putting grilled Mochi is a common principle throughout the nation.

This time we will show you Kanto Style Ozoni, which uses soy sauce-based soup.

How to Cook Ozoni

Ingredients

  • 4 cut Mochi (rice cakes)
  • About 3 cm of burdock
  • 1 shiitake mushroom
  • About 2 cm of Japanese white radish
  • About 1 cm of carrot
  • 100 g of chicken thigh
  • 900 mL of water
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of cooking sake
  • 2 tsp of Mirin (sweet sake)
  • Mitsuba leaf (as you like)

1. Shave the burdock thinly

Shave the burdock thinly with a knife and soak the shavings in water to remove the lye.

Shave the burdock thinly with a knife and soak the shavings in water to remove the lye. This is an essential process because burdocks contain lye and get discolored or have harsh taste when oxidized.

2. Cut the white radish and carrot into quarter slice

Peel and cut the carrot into quarter slice of 4 mm thin.

Peel and cut the white radish and carrot into quarter slice of 6 mm thin and 4 mm thin, respectively. You can cut them in other shapes, but quarter slice is good for uniform heat conduction.

For Shiitake mushrooms, cut off the stems and slice into 3 mm thick pieces.

3. Cut the chicken

Cut the chicken Bite-sized pieces or a little smaller.

Cut the chicken Bite-sized pieces or a little smaller.

4. Simmer the ingredients

Put all the cut ingredients in a soup pot and sprinkle salt, cooking sake, and Mirin to let them simmer.

Put all the cut ingredients in a soup pot and sprinkle salt, cooking sake, and Mirin to let them simmer. Once they gets boiled turn the heat down to low and remove lye. Then, leave them to further simmer for about 15 minutes. Adjust the taste with soy sauce in the end.

5. Grill Mochi

Grill the rice cakes in an oven toaster or ceramic grill.

Grill the rice cakes in an oven toaster or ceramic grill until they get swollen in golden brown.

6. Finishing

Put the grilled rice cakes in the soup and add Mitsuba leaf (as you like). Then, it’s ready to eat!

Put the grilled rice cakes in the soup and add Mitsuba leaf (as you like). Then, it’s ready to eat!

Summary

Ozoni is a Japanese traditional dish for New Year’s. We showed it in Kanto Style this time, and Kansai Style Ozoni uses white Miso soup. There are also other local styles in which rice cakes are put in simmered sweet red bean paste or walnut sauce.

Let’s experience Japanese culture for the start of New Year 2022!

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