1/02/2008

Ozoni --- Rice Cakes Boiled in a Meat & Veggie Soup


I checked several websites and it seems there are various kinds of recipe for Zoni ( Ozoni ).
In Kansai district ( Western Japan ) , the taste little sweeter, I always feel and I heard that they use white miso and round mochi ( rice cake).
I believe it depends on the prefecture or region, though. My family is sort of mixed. I mean my grandfather ( father's side ) is from Fukushima prefecture,but he went to university in Kyoto, so when he cooked ( for example, sukiyaki ), the way of his cooking was Kyoto style. Also, he spent many years in overseas, so little different.
The grandmother's family ( father's side ) is from Kanda area, so I guess they are original Edokko ( true-born Tokyoite). The funny thing is that my grandmother married to my grand father knowing nothing about cooking.... The very first day, she panicked since she didn't knowhow to cook rice !!! ( Well, I wonder what she was thinking before the wedding..... ) Anyways, this is the Ozoni I cooked this year ( this year, I didn't visit my parent's place, so arranged by my style.) It is probably partly inherited from my father's side and partly from my mother's side. I feel it is similar to the ones my mother cooks usually. The white ones are rice cakes. The top, yellow ones are slice of Yuzu. Green veggie and sliced dried laver seaweed, pink and white slices are kamaboko ( fish sausage ) . There are some small chicken chunks also. I forgot to add gobo ( burdock ) , which gives good flavor to the soup. I will keep eating Osechi and this Ozoni during Oshogatsu period , so will add some later.
The right side is kazunoko ( herring roe ) and wasabi-duke ( wasabi paste with chopped wasabi stem, radish. Wasabi-duke is normal snack ( ? ) to be eaten with rice or alcohol, but kazunoko is new year food. Since I didn't have it in Osechi box, I bought it separately. Very spicy ! Very good with Sake !
The recipe for Ozoni:
( Tokyo Style )
As mentioned, there are various ways of cooking and various ingredients. So, feel free to arrange it and create your own style. I've never cooked Kansai Style, someday I 'd like to try.
Ingredients:
Green Veggies ( I used Komatsuna, but you could use spinach or anything ).
Shredded Aburaage (Fried bean curd. This gives good flavor. If you can find it, go without it )
Daikon Radish ( I love it. So, I can't make Ozoni without it, but it is up to you. Substitution is turnip)
Shredded Shiitake Mushroom ( I used fresh one. Or, if you can find dried ones at Asian shops or super market, take it. It will create good soup. Follow the direction written on the bag. Probably you need to soak it in lukewarm water before use. Don't damp the soup, since it is the soup. )
Sliced Fish Sausage ( I used Kamaboko. )
Chicken ( cut into bite size )
Rice Cakes
Konnyaku ( Konjac )
Dashi Soup Powder ( I can't spend too much time making the soup , so I use soup powder.
I seasoned in Japanese way, but you could also use Chinese chicken broth powder. It becomes like chicken soup in a way, so make it freely. Try several times and find your favorite ! )
Yuzu lemon or Yuzu Kosho ( Yuzu gives wonderful flavor. )
1. Make basic soup.
Boil several cups of water. Bring to boil, add soup powder ( I use about 1 small packet ).
If you have, add some sake , mirin ( both 1 to 2 table spoons ) to add flavor. Sprinkle of salt.
2. Add chicken, fish sausage, konnyaku, daikon ( radish or turnip ) , shiitake mushroom and aburaage ( fried bean curd ) .
Wait till it comes to boil again. Remove scum.
3. When all the ingredients of above 2. is cooked, add chopped green veggies and rice cakes.
( I would say 2, 3 rice cakes for one serving. ) Will be cooked within 3 min. or so.
The whole volume is up to you and how many people you are going to serve. It is like a soup, so be flexible ! When you pour the cooked ozoni, sprinkle a piece of Yuzu peel. Or Add a tea spoon of Yuzu Kosho (Yuzu Kosho is like Japanese Yuzu tabasco..... made of salt and yuzu. Spicy, but gives great flavor to soups and other dishes. )

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