Today, I went to the Asian food market I normally go to, hoping to get something appropriate for the new years. I was vaguely hoping for some red beans to make oshiruko – Japanese sweet red bean soup. They had canned red beans, but not dried beans that I wanted. Instead, I found burdock and mochi. That made me want to make ozoni – vegetable and mochi soup, also often seen during the new years season.
Only now I’m realizing that using burdock in ozoni is very unique to my family recipe. So anyway… this is what I made.
- Water – 7 cups (1750ml)
- Shiitake mushroom, dry – 4
- Dash pack – 2
- Chicken, white meat – 1 lb
- Burdock – 1 (about 80cm, or 31 inches)
- Carrot – 3 small (about 1 inch dia, 6 inch long each)
- Daikon radish – 2.5 inch dia, 6 inch long
- Spinach, fresh – about 30 leaves
- Soy sauce – 4 tbs
- Mochi – to your liking. Optional
- Start boiling the water, with shiitake in the water
- Cut chicken to small bite size
- Cut burdock and carrot diagonally, like making ovals
- Cut daikon into half circle, or quarter arc, depending on size
- Cut up spinach leaves to bite size (2 inches?)
Real Cooking Steps
- Once the water boils, drop the dashi packs in the pot, and let it boil for 15 minutes on medium heat
- Throw away dashi packs
- Pick up shiitake, and slice them. Be careful not burn yourself in this process. Put shiitake back in the soup
- Keep the pot on medium heat during steps 5 through 7
- Put chicken in the pot. Bring it to boil
- Put burdock and carrots. Bring it to boil
- Put daikon. Bring it to boil
- Simmer until all vegetables are well cooked (30-40 minutes?)
- Put spinach in. Let it cook for a minute
- Put soy sauce in, adjusting the quantity to your liking
- When you’re ready to serve, toast mochi, and put 1 to 2 pieces into each bowl
- This should make about 6 servings
…but it was so good, I finished more than 1/3 of the pot on my first meal. It is different from what I remember, but that didn’t bother me too much.
Normally, komatsuna is used instead of spinach, which really brings the real taste of ozoni. It’s impossible to get that here in Kansas, so I made this substitute. Also, remember, the use of burdock is NOT common at all. And one more thing – this is one of those dish that varies greatly from family to family, or from region to region. There is no single definite recipe for ozoni. If you feel brave, you can make your own variation. I think my family also used satoimo (Japanese taro).
And most importantly…
Happy new years to everyone!