Ingredients for 4 Servings
Maru mochi (丸もち / Maru mochi) 4 pieces
Daiko plum blossoms (大根のねじり梅 / Daikon no nejiri ume) 4 (1.5 cm thick)
Carrot plum blossoms (にんじんのねじり梅 / Ninjin no nejiri ume) 4 (1.5 cm thick)
Water (水 / Mizu) 800 ml
Konbu (昆布 / Konbu) 1 piece 10 ㎝ long
White miso (白味噌 / Miso) / Shiromiso) 200 g
Salt (塩/ Shio) 1/6 tsp (two pinches)
Yuzu zest (柚子ゼスト / Yuzu zesuto) To taste
Dried bonito (かつおぶし or かつお節 / Katsuobushi) 4 g
How to Make
1. Make konbu broth. Add the water and konbu to a medium-size pot (“pot 1”) and set the pot aside. After at least 30 minutes, place the pot on medium heat. Just before the water begins to boil, remove the konbu. Reduce the heat.
2. Transfer 200 ml of the konbu broth to a separate pot (“pot 2”). Into pot 1 (which still has 600 ml of broth), dissolve the white miso and adjust the flavor by adding a bit of salt.
3. Add the daikon and carrot plum blossoms to pot 2, together with a pinch of salt (not included in the ingredient list). Cover the pot and boil until the daikon and carrot plum blossoms are soft.
4. Shave the zest off of the yuzu and then cut it into very thin strips.
5. Place the maru mochi into a heat resistant bowl. Add just enough water to cover the mochi and then use a microwave oven to heat the mochi for 4 minutes – 1 minute for each mochi.
6. Remove the mochi from the microwave and then place them into pot 1. Heat pot 1, but do not allow it to boil. Add the daikon and carrot plum blossoms, and the yuzu zest. Continue heating just enough to allow the content of the pot to achieve an even temperature, and then serve.
Now give each petal a more three-dimensional appearance. Do this by using the knife to cut from the surface of the blossom diagonally downward to a radial cut. Start about a quarter of the way into each petal width and cut diagonally downward the remaining three quarters of the petal width to the next radial cut. Do this for each petal. Round off the edges of the petals to give them a smoother appearance.
Significance of Ozōni as an Osechi Dish
How the custom of having ozōni on New Year’s Day came about is not altogether clear. Evidence suggests, however, that the custom has existed since about the eighth century. Ozōni recipes differ by geographic area and even household, but essential to all of them is mochi – round in Kansai and rectangular in Kanto. Mochi is made by mashing cooked short-grain rice. Rice was an expensive foodstuff in ancient times and was, therefore, seen as a proper offering to the gods on the very important occasion of the start of the new year. Ozōni is made by adding mochi – the same mochi used as an offering to the gods on New Year’s Eve – to soup stock, together with other ingredients. This combination of various ingredients in a soup is captured by the Chinese characters 雑 (zō), meaning miscellaneous, and 煮 (ni), which refers to something boiled. By the way, perhaps the most noticeable characteristic of mochi is its stretchiness and this, too, has been enlisted as a reason making mochi an appropriate food for celebrating the arrival of the new year – the stretchiness is seen as symbolizing a wish for long life.
Recipe Developed by Machiko Tateno