Ōzoni on New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day Tradition Kept Alive
Happy 2023! It’s a brand new year. A day to begin fresh and create measurable goals to continue evolving and growing.
In Japanese culture, we have many traditions during New Year’s. One is that we eat ōzoni on NYD to bring good luck for the new year. Ōzoni is a Japanese mochi soup. There are different ways in which they’re made. Today, I will share a vegan-style version based on my family’s recipe, omitting meat and chicken broth.
Recipe & Kitchen Equipment
Yields: 10-15 servings
- 2 carrots, bâtonnet cut (thin slices/strips)
- 2 takenoko (bamboo shoots), bâtonnet cut
- 1 gobo (burdock root), bâtonnet cut
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch shingiku (chrysanthemum leaves), chopped
- 1 bag of mochi
- 1 bag soba noodles, optional, but recommended for extra good luck for the new year
Ōzoni dashi (soup):
- 80 oz vegetable broth or water (or chicken broth)
- Hot water
- 1 bag dried shiitake mushrooms soaked in hot water for 10-15 minutes
- Shiitake mushroom water
- Shoyu (Yamasa preferred), to taste
- Note** To make the traditional ōzoni I grew up eating, dice chicken and pork, cook first before adding vegetables to the pot, and use chicken broth for the dashi (soup) base.
- Measuring bowls, cups, and spoons
- Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Small sauce pot
- Big pot
- Serving bowls
- Sanitize kitchen (sink, countertops, stovetop/oven, cupboard handles, phone, computer).
- Soak dried shiitake mushrooms for 10-15 minutes or longer. Keep the water to add to the dashi.
- Wash and peel the carrots and gobo.
- Cut carrots, gobo, and bamboo shoots into thin slices (bâtonnet cut)
- After soaking the shiitake mushrooms, remove the mushrooms. Squeeze the liquid from the mushrooms.
- Set liquid aside.
- Mise en place ingredients.
- In a large pot, add vegetable stock, shoyu, and mushroom-soaked water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Season to taste with pepper and more shoyu if needed.
- Add carrots, bamboo shoots, gobo, and shiitake mushrooms to the dashi.
- Bring to a boil once again.
- Reduce to a simmer for one hour, or until the vegetables are cooked
- In a separate pot, boil water and add a ladle or two of the ōzoni dashi.
- Add mochi to the boiling liquid and cook until soft.
- Transfer mochi to a serving bowl and pour in dashi.
- Add soba and garnish with shingiku.
- Eat immediately.
The Meaning of Mochi During New Year’s
Mochi, or rice cake, symbolizes good wishes for the New Year. Eating mochi provides good fortune, peace, happiness, and good health (Kojima, 2019; Aoi, 2022). Moreover, mochi symbolizes long life, represented by the stretchiness of the rice cake (Kojima, 2019).
Let’s have an OUTSTANDING 2023!
Aoi, N. (2022). Mochi: A meaningful new year tradition. Retrieved from: https://mochidoki.com/blogs/the-mochidoki-journal/mochi-a-meaningful-new-year-tradition
Kojima, J. (2019). Why we eat mochi on new year’s in Hawaii. Retrieved from: https://www.hawaiimagazine.com/why-we-eat-mochi-on-new-years-in-hawaii/