New year food in Japan
In Japan it is not customary to prepare for the new year holidays. Earlier there was a taboo on cooking in the New year, and the shops were closed for the holidays. So there was a special Japanese new year food — Osechi ryori (osechi ryori) .
Osechi is a set of various dishes, which are placed in special lacquered boxes called jubako. Osechi prepared in advance, and to keep food until the New year, it is prepared in a special way, adding a significant amount of sugar or pickling it.
Osechi ryori looks very nice, because the food is festive, besides Osechi decided to give each other on New year. In Japan, food in General — a common type of gift, so if you will give a couple of pounds of fresh tuna, it will be absolutely fine.
There are plenty of special dishes for Osechi, and each of them has its own symbolic meaning and is called differently.
Gobo Kobumaki (昆布巻) . Kabutomaru gobo – burdock root, wrapped in kombu seaweed and knotted kampyo (dried long strips of gourd) and cooked in broth made from dried sardines (niboshi dashi). Burdock root is very long, therefore, symbolizes the Japanese ideal of life is long and stable. Cooking features are a joy because part of the word “Koba” in the word “kabutomushi” is pronounced as part of “yorokobu”, which means joyful.
Renkon no Nitsuke (レンコンの煮付け) . Rincon nitsuke – Lotus root, sliced in the shape of a chrysanthemum, dried and cooked in a sweet soy sauce. Lots of holes in it you can see right through next year.
Kikuka Kabu (菊花蕪) . Kikuka Cabo whole small turnips (or turnip), cut as a chrysanthemum flower and pickled in vinegar with salt and sugar and a small amount of chili pepper. Chrysanthemum in Japan is a symbol of the Emperor and used joyful special occasions.
Pirikara Konnyaku (ピリ辛コンニャク) . Parikara of the konnyaku — a gelatinous product from the konnyaku plant, marinated in a sweet spicy sauce.
Nimono (煮物) . Nimono – fresh vegetables (carrot, Lotus root or burdock) cut in the form of plum blossom, green peas, and shiitake mushrooms, cooked in a broth of tuna or kombu. The shape of the carrots in this dish expresses the desire that each flower plum yielded fruit, so this dish symbolizes fertility.
Kuri Kinton (栗金飩) . Kuri Kinton – a sweetened puree of Japanese sweet potatoes with sweet chestnuts. Characters Kinton the words literally mean “heap of gold”, Golden color and sweetness symbolizes the wish for prosperity and financial success in the New year.
Ebi no Shioyaki (エビの塩焼き) . But the EBI shioyaki — large shrimp, pre-salted or pickled, and then grilled. The shape of a shrimp associated with an old hunchbacked man, which means longevity.
Kazunoko (数の子) . Kazunoko – herring ROE, seasoned in a broth of tuna or kombu and soy sauce. Each piece of caviar contains thousands of eggs and symbolizes fecundity and abundance.
Kamaboko (蒲鉾) . Kamaboko is a typical Japanese dish, which is a pink and white pieces, made with fish paste, sliced and laid out usually in the order of alternation of white and pink. Dish simvoliziruet the rising sun.
Datemaki (伊達巻) . Datemaki – sweet Golden mugs from eggs and fish paste, which have a corrugated side surface. It is a kind of imitation of the sun, expressing the wish of Sunny days in the future.
Kuromame (黒豆) . Kuromame – a large dish of black beans, marinated in a sweet soy sauce. In addition to the high nutritional value of this dish symbolizes good health, as “mame” which means bean, sounds like another word for hard work and good health.
Ikura (イクラ) . Ikura — salty salmon caviar. In addition to the favorable shade of red, ROE and eggs represent fertility, fertility and abundance.
Finally, the Japanese new year’s table is not complete without o-zoni (お雑煮) . o-Zoni, a ubiquitous soup with rice cake, varieties of which is the same as cities in Japan. For this soup can be used very different products, depending on what is available, but a common feature is the presence of a piece of sticky rice cake inside.
Currently Osechi many people buy in supermarkets, despite the high price (120$ for the set and more expensive), and the skillful Housewives still prepare yourself.
Even in Japan a very popular Christmas sponge cakes with strawberries (in the New year in Japan, the peak of the season strawberries) and whipped cream. Many Japanese people order them in advance along with Osechi to the holiday to spend a carefree and fun.