Happy New Year Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu 明けましておめでとうございます!
Did you make toshikoshi soba last night to bring in the new year and cut ties with the old ? 2020 is not only the start of a new decade but its the year that Japan will be hosting the summer Olympics and I will be visiting Japan again myself at the end of April ! I’m so excited to be back.
I make Osechi Ryori 御節料理 or お節料理 every year for New Year’s Day ( Ganjitsu 元日). Even though I am not in Japan I can bring Japan closer with my food.
New year is a very important time and food has a lot of special meaning. I have made a few posts on Osechi over the years and this year also my last blog post is on other new year symbolism in Japan.
Osechi Ryori are traditional foods normally packed in a tiered bento box known as ojubuko 重箱 enjoyed at New Year’s Day in Japan. I have made a vegan selection of these dishes. There are other popular dishes but they are not vegan.
Ozoni 関西風お雑煮( Kansai – style ) new year soup This style of soup from Kyoto region is made with miso and toasted Mochi. I added daikon,carrot, komatsuna and Yuzu peel.
Candied chestnut and sweet potato ( Kuri Kinton ) 栗きんとん .This golden mash symbolises wealth and fortune.
Kinpira Renkon (Japanese Lotus Root Stir Fry) きんぴら蓮根
Sweet black soy beans (Kuro-mame) 黒豆 Symbolises good health.
Daikon & carrot salad (Namasu ) 紅白なます.These are colours of celebration. I served it inside a Yuzu skin.
Nishime 煮しめ simmered vegetables is a must for a New Years meal and the lotus root is a symbol of an unobstructed view to the future. I used carrot, taro potato, Kouya dofu, lotus root, kabocha,shiitake,konnyaku and snow peas all simmered in a kombu shiitake stock with tamari, mirin and Yuzu.
I also made some inari sushi いなり寿司 ( because I like them ) and Furofuki daikon 風呂吹き大根 simmered daikon with miso and a tofu, kabocha and Yuzu mousse topped with sweet red beans.
Mitarashi dango みたらし団子 chewy soft warm dumplings with a with a sweet soy sauce glaze.
Amazake 甘酒 is also popular at new year along with sake. Many Shinto shrines sell or provide amazake on New Year’s Eve. There is also a herb sake called O-toso drunk at new year. Drinking O-toso is said to ward off infectious diseases like colds for the year.
Dried persimmon hoshigaki (干し柿).These ones are pretty special they are stuffed with sweet white bean paste and are a wagashi called Suikanshuku (粋甘粛) . It is traditional to eat dried persimmon over the new year as the wrinkled skin is said to be associated with longevity. The Japanese word for persimmon (not dried is kaki ) which means luck.
What ever your plans for 2020 I hope it brings health, happiness and everything you could possibly wish for. The new year and new decade is full of possibilities.