New Years in Japan is called Oshogatsu, お正月 (おしょうがつ – oshōgatsu) it is the most important day that’s celebrated in Japan. Steep in traditions that goes back hundreds of years, you will still find many Japanese today continuing the same traditions.
On January 1, millions of Japanese visit shrines or temples, offering up a prayer, usually for good health and good fortune. It is also customary to eat Ozoni the Japanese New Years soup. This Japanese New Years soup is eaten on the first day of the new year. Marc Matsumoto a food blogger, shares his family recipe for Ozoni.
- About an hour before you prepare your Ozoni, put 1 cup of water in a bowl along with the dried shiitake mushrooms.
- Put the chicken in a colander. Boil a kettle of water and pour it over the chicken, letting the water go down the drain. This removes blood and impurities from the meat, giving you a clear soup.
- Put the chicken in a pot along with the remaining 4 cups of water, the carrots, sake, and salt, and then simmer for 20 minutes, skimming to remove any scum that rises to the top. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
- Add the soy sauce, along with the soaking liquid from the shiitake mushrooms to the soup and then adjust salt to taste. Slice up the shiitake mushrooms and add them to the soup.
- Lay down a sheet of aluminum foil in a toaster oven then toast the mochi until it inflates and turns golden brown along the top. You can also just microwave it until it inflates.
- To serve, place piece of grilled mochi at the bottom of the bowl, then add a few slices of chicken. Gather a few strands of spinach and tie them in loop and place in the bowl. Add the soup along with two slices of carrot and some shiitake mushrooms. Garnish with some yuzu zest and serve.
If you can’t find yuzu, you can substitute Meyer orange peel