Happy New Year !!
It had been an obligation for me to prepare Osechi Ryori or Japanese traditional new year dishes when I was working in the professional kitchen about 5 years ago.
Since I left there, I got indecisive every year end wondering
"To prepare or not to prepare Osechi for the next year."
I have good reasons to feel that way. Here are why;
First of all, it is not easy to source all the Japanese ingredients and they are marked up before new year.
Secondly , it is really a time consuming ritual .
Thirdly , we have a massive feast during Christmas season.
Nevertheless I always end up with being stuck in the kitchen every year end since it's the only chance I can modify my Osechi dishes as well as it's the only chance I can share my tradition with my non Japanese family and friends.
So it's not a complete set but I made it all in time.
There are 3 essential dishes that I MUST prepare no matter how troublesome they are to cook.
1 Kuromame Slow cook sweet black bean -It's 10 hrs work
2 GomameCandied anchovy -for this year I mixed roasted peanuts and used maple sugar instead of white sugar. It was nice
3 Kouhaku NamasuWhite daikon radish and carrot sweet pickles.
Other than those, I put Kurikinton(Sweet Potato and sweet chestnut)and Tatakigobo(burdock pickles with sesame seed)
This is the 2nd tier of Osechi boxes
- Simmered Tiger Prawn in White sesame paste
- Herring Roe
- Grilled white miso marinated sierra
- Soy and yuzu grilled salmon
- Red(I know it's pink but it's called red as red and white is considered happy color combination)and white fishcake
- Sweet egg and tofu roll-that was not so great. I will use fish cake for this dish for the next year
3 Tier of Osechi box
- Braised CHicken and root vegetables
We had the osechi dishes with Zouni soup.
The style differs from the regions.
I follow my mother's style, whose mother is from good old Tokyo.
It's clear tofu soy sauce soup with grilled rice cake.
Every dish has meaning and we have to enjoy each dish
wishing for good luck, for being diligent, for longevity and prosperity.
I am now relieved and happy as I have taken a load off my mind .
At the same time, I feel it's going to be another great year as I had all the Osechi dishes.
Wishing you all a prosperous year !!
By the way, before enjoying new year dishes, we traditionally have Soba buckwheat noodles on new year's eve..