Ozoni is a traditional Japanese soup eaten on New Year’s Day for good health. The recipe varies throughout Japan but is usually made up of mochi (dried rice cakes) in a dashi stock soup. The Japanese like to make this dish more festive by carving star shapes into the caps of the mushrooms and cutting the carrots to look like flowers.
- 2 x 10 cm pieces kombu (see Note)
- 2 x 5 g sachets bonito flakes (see Note)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
- 8 baby taro (araimo) (see Note)
- 350 g daikon (see Note)
- 1 bunch English spinach
- 2 carrots, thickly sliced
- 16 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
- 8 mochi (rice cakes) (see Note)
- 8 slices kamaboko (see Note), to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make dashi stock, place kombu in a large saucepan with 3 L water. Leave for 30 minutes. Add bonito flakes, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low–medium and simmer for 15 minutes or until reduced by one-quarter. Strain through a fine sieve into another large pan, discarding solids. Add soy sauce to dashi stock and keep warm over low heat.
Place taro in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and peel.
Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, peel daikon twice to remove bitter outer layer, then slice thickly. Bring 750 ml (3 cups) dashi stock to the boil. Holding spinach by the roots, dip the leaves and stems into the stock and cook for 1 minute or until wilted. Run under cold water, then squeeze out excess liquid and cut leaves and stems into thirds, and discard roots. Set aside. Add daikon to hot stock and top with a plate to keep it submerged. Bring to the boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Add taro, carrots and mushrooms, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Preheat a grill to high. Place mochi on a lined oven tray and grill for 4 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Drain vegetables and divide among bowls with kamaboko. Bring remaining dashi stock almost to the boil, then pour over vegetables. Serve with mochi.
• Kombu, available from Asian food shops, are dried seaweed sheets that are used to flavour soups, stocks and simmered dishes. Wipe the sheets with a damp cloth or rinse before using to remove excess salt.
• Bonito flakes, made from dried skipjack tuna, are available from Asian food shops.
• Baby taro, available from selected greengrocers and Asian food shops, is a starchy root vegetable with creamy flesh and brown hairy skin. This variety grows 3 cm to 6 cm in length and only needs a little cooking to make it edible and tender.
• Daikon, available from selected greengrocers and Asian food shops, is a large type of white radish with a sweet, fresh flavour.
• Mochi is available from Japanese food shops.
• Kamaboko, available from Japanese food shops, is white fish that’s ground to a paste, then shaped into half-moon logs and steamed.
Photography by John Laurie.
As seen in Feast magazine, December 2011, Issue 4. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.