01 January, 2010

O-zoni in Nova Scotia (Belated Happy New Year)

I wrote this post one month ago but had to delay posting it because I misplaced the USB cord for my new camera. Found at last, I've decided to put it up, even though it's late. I made a simple dashi by simmering konbu for awhile and adding some seven-herb powder from Japan that I've been hoarding, along with a bit of mirin and ume-shu. I "grilled" some firm tofu in a dry cast iron pan and I used only white miso. You can find a recipe for a similar soup I wrote a recipe for earlier, here. And for all you Tigers out there, this is your year, so enjoy!

Like most of Japan, I find I want o-zoni for New Year's, but the only way I'm going to taste it is if I make it at home. When I lived in Japan all the ingredients were pretty easy to come by. We made the white miso version in Kagawa, or at least some of us did, for ozoni, just like regular miso soup, was made differently in every home and depended a lot on which part of the country the maker came from. Since some families had parents or grand-parents from different prefectures, they might make two kinds of soup to satisfy the seasonal cravings. I found I was happy with white miso soup but that I didn't really like the mochi with the sweet bean paste filling that often went with it. I preferred a plain mochi.

Today is New Year's day. I woke up and unexpectedly needed to watch the sunrise and eat ozoni. So on with my coat and out onto the balcony to see the smudges of pink of the rising sun. Then to the kitchen, where I rustled up a small batch of genmai (brown rice) mochi, kneading it by hand, and some nice filling ozoni to plop it in. Having toasted the mochi and eaten some of it in the soup, I find my Japanese soul relieved and refreshed and it seems easier to imagine a fresh start in 2010, as soft grey rolls in over the water and whisps of snow pirouette in the air.

Happy New Year!!!