A few days to go before new year in Japan it’s time to start preparing what food to make for Osechi. The new year Osechi Ryori is considered the most important meal of the year, and lots of time and care is taken to prepare it. It starts a few days before with deciding what will be made and collecting any ingredients needed.
Here is a shopping list of things you might need to buy.
kombu and dried shiitake for making dashi stock
mirin and tamari to add flavour to broths and marinades
Brown rice vinegar for making tsukemono (pickles)
konnyaku for adding to simmered vegetables
soba noodles for New Year’s Eve plus aburaage
Mochi rice cakes for ozoni New Year’s Day soup along with white miso paste.
Kuri Kanroni ( sweet candied chestnuts for making Kuri Kinton
Kuro-mame black soybeans
Vegetables lotus root, carrot, daikon radish, mongetout, taro potato, Kabocha, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, Japanese sweet potato,gobo,green onion, komatsuna or mizuna.
Yuzu and Yuzu juice
Sake and amazake
I like to start by making any tsukemono Japanese pickles so they can stay in the fridge a few days to be ready on the day. This year I am making Su-Renkon. Lotus root (renkon) is an imported food over the new year, the holes symbolises an unobstructed view to the future.
You can use fresh or boiled vacuum sealed lotus root depending on what you can find.
It is popular to make Hana-renkon flower cut lotus root for decoration. Which is easy to do. Cut your piece of lotus root in half and cut down in between the holes and take out the slices like this.
When you have done this you can cut the lotus root into slices.
Use a cup of water and a piece of kombu and let it soak with the lotus root for 30 minutes in a pan.
In another pan add two tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of mirin, a few slices of Yuzu rind and half a cup of brown rice vinegar and a little salt. Heat up the vinegar until the sugar dissolves then pour it into the pan with the kombu and renkon.
Start to heat the pan and then just as it starts to boil take out the kombu, then simmer down for about 15 minutes.
Pour your lotus root and liquid into a container, add a few slices of sliced red chilli pepper and a drizzle of fresh Yuzu juice over the lotus root. Let it cool then seal and refrigerate. Serve as part of your Osechi on New Year’s Day.