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Jan 1, 2011

Osechi - New year feasts in lacquered boxes

Many Japanese prepare Osechi-dishes, which contain various kinds of dishes in lacquered boxes which are designed for the Osechi. My wife cooked 2 boxes of Osechi and Zoni, which is a miso soup with baked mochi and vegetables.


Osechi consists of dishes which is shown below which have auspicious meanings and we celebrate the new year's day by eating the dishes.

from above left
1 chestnut boiled with syrup. The golden color of the chestnut is associated with economic fortune.
2 black soy beans, which represents wish for health.
3 bamboo-shoots boiled with broth. Growth of bamboo-shoots upward to the sky is associated with well growth in many fields like business.
4 carrots boiled with bamboo shoots in broth. Red color of carrots is seen as auspicious color.
5 boiled arrowheads. The sprouts coming out of them is associated with growth.
6 vinegar-pickled renkons or lotus roots. Renkons have many holes which you can "see through" the other side, which literarily means seeing or predict what will happen in the future.
7 sardines cooked in say sauce. In ancient days in Japan sardine was used as a fertilizer for rice so the fish are associated with a good harvest.
8 giant butterburs boiled in say sauce and broth. Butterburs in Japanese is homonym of wealth or good fortune in Japanese.


While preparing miso soup for zoni we baked mochis with an oven toaster.
Mochi get sticky and bigger when cooked so we sometimes have a trouble in picking them up if mochis combine with others as you see in a photo shown below.


It's interesting to know that different kinds of zoni soup are preferred in different districts in Japan. In Osaka white miso soup is preferred, which is sweet and mild taste while in Tokyo fish broth.


-- iPad

4 comments:

Robin said...

What a Wonderful tradition! Thanks for sharing your tradition. Happy Healthy New Year to you and your family

fer said...

So much fun. I had seem some of this and I was wondering what it was, thank you!

Hazel said...

Oh, you have reminded me why I love Japanese food. I love all those little morsels of things and miso soup is heavenly. Thankyou for the explanation of the significance of each dish too. I hope this food brings you great good fortune.

~Holly~ said...

Yum!! Your new year's meal looks delicious! I love seeing your ozoni made with miso. I posted a recipe for one my grandma used to make. I'm not sure if it's from a specific region in Japan or if it was Americanized while living in Hawaii.