New Years Osechi Ryōri in Miami
Update: osechi ryori recap here
This is unfamiliar territory for most sushi lovers, so I thought I’d give a little background info. Some info about what it is, and details about the foods we’ll enjoy on January 3, 2012. Signup info, full menu and RSVP link can all be found on our New Years Osechi Ryōri page.
First of all we’re celebrating the Japanese New Year, or oshogatsu. This is one of five seasonal holidays during which these holiday meals are eaten. New Years is an important holiday, so people are busy preparing during the preceding days. After the New Year, wives traditionally refrained from cooking. For the first three days of the New Year they celebrate as all great cultures do, with great food!
The foods eaten during this festival are called osechi-ryōri, or osechi for short. These foods are served in stackable boxes called jūbako — similar to bento boxes.
Our menu for Jan 3rd is a very traditional menu, and we’ll give the meanings of some of the food items and explain what they symbolize. If you know the symbolic meaning of some of the other items please add a comment, these are the only ones I know. Most of these have been eaten for centuries, but in recent decades the variety of foods has increased.
- Kuro-mame is sweet black soybeans
- Kazunoko is salted herring roe
- Tazukuri is cooked small dried sardines in sauce
- Datemaki is sweet omelette
- Kuro kinton
– Mame also means “health” symbolizing a wish for good health in the New Year.
– Kazu means “number” and ko means “child.” It symbolizes a wish to be blessed with children in the New Year.
– The literal meaning of one of the kanjis in tazukuri is “rice paddy maker” as sardines were used to fertilize rice fields centuries ago. This symbolizes a wish for an abundant harvest.
– This symbolizes a wish for gaining wisdom in the coming year.
– symbolizes wealth & prosperity for the coming year
– symbolizes wish for a long life
– wishing for happiness and a pleasant year
– lotus root symbolizes insight for the future
– wishing for good fortune in the coming year
– wishing for success in the coming year
Ozōni (I spell as ozouni with US keyboard) is the popular mochi soup eaten at this time of year. Omochi is the iconic New Years food. Here’s a video of people making mochi from glutenous rice for New Years.
Ozōni was a dish for samurai to eat in the battlefield. But it later became a common dish that people enjoy this time of year. Mochi-making is a New Years tradition in Japan, and this soup with mochi and vegetables has become a modern tradition.
We’ll be eating ozouni prepared Kansai style, meaning that the broth is miso based instead of a clear stock. Again feel free to add any additional info you know in the comments, including recipes for ozouni!
Japanese translations/interpretation by Patti Ward.