Osechi Ryori at Maido
Every New Years Japanese people eat traditional foods called Osechi Ryouri during the first three days. This year we enjoyed a traditional meal at Maido Japanese Restaurant in Doral, FL. They always surprise us with great meals, and this time was no exception!
We had twenty adventurous foodies brave the cold weather to come try Maido’s Osechi Ryori and they did not seem the least bit disappointed. The main foods for osechi ryori were served up on individual plates, like the one shown below, and a small plate of vegetables (nitsuke) were served up for a pair of people to split.
There was ozōni too, of course. Ozōni is the mochi soup that everyone looks forward to. Kansai chefs usually start with a stronger miso-based soup, but most people eat a clear broth version, as we had here. The Kansai style features smaller rounded pieces of mochi, but this style typically has toasted blocks of mochi.
Mochi is absolutely essential for any proper New Years celebration. For those unfamiliar with omochi, it’s those chewy rice cakes made from glutenous rice. Every year huge amounts are consumed in Japan around New Years. This is one of the great ways to enjoy mochi – in clear soup.
Genya-san and Hiroshi-san prepared some great clear broth ozouni for us with a fresh, big block of toasted mochi, and some tasty ingredients in each bowl.
Most of these foods have symbolic meaning, and the people consuming these foods hope for health, happiness, prosperity, luck, longevity, success, fertility, good harvests, etc. in the coming year. Not all of the foods do, but many of them have come to be associated with various good things that are wished for in the new year.
Pictured below, from top left going clockwise:
Kuro-mame: sweet black beans, served on shiso leaf, symbolizes good health
Ikura: soaked in sake and served on lime slice, symbolizes long life
Su-renkon: marinated lotus root sunomomo, symbolizes insight into the future
Tazukuri: small grilled sardines in sauce symbolize abundant harvests
Kazunoko: herring roe symbolizes fertility
Konbumaki: rolled kelp (salmon inside) symbolizes happiness
We also enjoyed the foods shown below, same top left clockwise descriptions:
Tataki Gobou: burdock root in sesame sauce with Kouhaku-namasu (carrot & daikon sunomomo) symbolizes good fortune
Kuro kinton: sweet potato and chestnut ball, symbolizes wealth & prosperity
Umaki tamago: sweet omelette with broiled eel
Ika misozuke: miso-marinated squid served with matsumae-zuke (pickled dried cuttlefish & kelp)
Here’s the foods we were served along with the main plate (below). This is called Nitsuke and consisted of boiled yam, boiled carrot, shiitake mushroom, bamboo shoots, konjaku, boiled daikon.