Happy New Year – 2018

Happy New Year! May your 2018 be peaceful and fun with a touch of excitement.

I cannot believe that it’s already 2018…. It still sounds like the future to me….

This is this year’s Osechi –  a set of several dishes prepared for New Year’s Celebration. (Please see my previous post about the Japanese tradition of New Year).

Osechi 2_a little bit of soy

Menu is:

Nishime (simmered vegetables – Konjac, Carrot, Daikon Radish, Okra, Shiitake)

Kohaku Namasu (pickled daikon and carrot)

Gomame/Tazukuri (dried sardines caramelised with sugar and soy sauce)

Kurikinton (chestnuts and sweet potatoes paste)

Kuromame (Simmered black beans)

Konbu Maki (rolled kelp)

Koya-dofu (simmered dried tofu)

Ebino Umani (prawns cooked in soy sauce, sake and mirin)

Chicken Terini (Chicken simmered in teriyaki sauce)

Hokkaido Scallops Sashimi

Ozoni (soup with mochi/rice cake)

As this was the 4th year for me to prepare Osechi, I have to say that I was pretty organised and it did not take that long. I am quite satisfied the outcome too. Tasty!!! YEYYY!!! I have presented Osechi this year on  a set of beautiful plates which were given to us by my husband’s auntie and uncle. The white plates are so classy and Osechi looks good on them.

Osechi 1_a little bit of soy

Well, I think I made a good start . I am determined to keep it up throughout 2018.

 

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Happy New Year – 2017

Happy New Year. Wising everyone peace, health and a lot of joy throughout the year.

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Again I prepared Osechi. It takes time but it is very rewarding. Most of all, it is delicious…. I love Japanese traditional food.

Menu:

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Kohaku Namasu (pickled daikon and carrot)

Ebino Umani (prawns cooked in soy sauce, sake and mirin)

Gomame/Tazukuri (dried sardines caramelised with sugar and soy sauce)

Nishime (simmered vegetables)

Kurikinton (chestnuts and sweet potatoes paste)

Tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette)

 

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Koya-dofu (simmered dried tofu)

Simmered Shiitake

Konbu Maki (rolled kelp)

Kuromame (Simmered black beans)

Ozoni (soup with mochi/rice cake)

Grilled Miso Marinaded Salmon

Although Osechi is traditionally meant to be eaten for 3 days from the new year’s day, it did not work like that for us. Most of them are gone now…. They were just so tasty and we (mostly I) kept nibbled them with a glass of white wine!

Well, after the festive season, my stomach certainly became bigger…. I reckon that it is time for me to restart my exercise habit….

Happy New Year – 2016

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FAQ

“Do you celebrate Christmas in Japan?”

Answer

“No, we don’t. We enjoy Christmas.”

Japanese people love different cultures. We know how to adapt and enjoy to make our life more colourful. Christmas is one of them. Although we roast chicken (not turkey), Father Christmas comes to give presents to Japanese children, Christmas cake is sold at a bakery and streets are decorated. It is party time.

Instead, we celebrate New Year, just like we do for Christmas in Australia. The day is the most important holiday for us in Japan. Traditionally it is the event to invite a god (one of Shinto’s gods) who brings a household happiness for the new year. In modern days, at least for me and my family, the day is for family or the loved ones to get together, and celebrate and pray for each other’s health and happiness for the new year. What we do is pretty much the same though. We clean our house before New Year, decorate our house in certain way, go to a shrine to pray and cook&eat the traditional food- Osechi.

Osechi is a set of several dishes prepared for New Year’s Celebration and normally packed in Jubako – which is like a big bento box (but 3 layers!). Just as an obento, Osechi contains several kinds of dishes. Each dish in Osechi has each meaning to describe the reason why it is served for this celebration. Osechi is prepared a day before New Year. The amount is big since Osechi was traditionally meant to be eaten for the next 3 days, and women should not work in the kitchen during those 3days except for preparation of Ozoni (Mochi/ Rice Cake in soup).

As you can imagine, my mum’s Osechi is wonderful. I went back to Japan to eat her Osechi every New Year on the first 4-5 years in Australia (I have stopped doing that now since Japan is too cold for me in winter). And then, it was last year. I realised how much I missed my mum’s Osechi! So I decided to make it by myself. Of course my mum assisted me with some tips and advice over the phone. I have to say it was pretty good for the first time. This year I did it again. Here is the menu:

Kuromame (black beans cooked in sugar and soy sauce): While mame means beans, it is also used to describe the person who has dedication. This is a wish to become a person who can dedicate.

Konbu Maki (rolled kelp): Kobu sounds associated with “Yorokobu” , which means joy.

Kohaku Namasu (pickled daikon and carrot): Red and white is the colour for celebration in Japan.

Tazukuri (dried sardines caramelised with sugar and soy sauce): My family calls as “Gomame”. “Tazukuri” means making a rice field, describing an abundant harvest.

Ebino Umani (prawns cooked in soy sauce, sake and mirin): It is to wish for a long life until we stoop from old age, just like a shape of prawn.

Kurikinton (chestnuts and sweet potatoes paste): The yellow colour describes gold and richness.

Nishime (simmered vegetables): traditional Japanese dish which was eaten from a long time ago. I use Daikon, Carrot and Konnyaku.

Koya-dofu (simmered dried tofu): The square shape looks like a shield for protection.

Tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette): This is the substitute for Datemaki- egg and seafood extended mix omelette, which I cannot obtain here. It represents knowledge and learning from the rolled shape (books in ancient time were rolled).

It takes so much time to make Osechi since there are several dishes involved. But I feel so happy to look at the completed Osechi. Don’t you think it is beautiful? It is beautiful for both your eyes and mouth. I believe that it is the best dish to eat on the first day of the year.