Osechi ryouri had been introduced from Cina and today’s Osechi ryouri that we know has begun since the Nara period. Now Osechi ryouri is one of traditional Japanese foods and it’s served for the new year’s God praying for happiness.
Osechi ryouri is prepared with various kinds of colorful food in the five-tiered of square lacquer box, which means multiplying the happiness and prosperities of the year.
There are many varieties of Osechi dishes like vegetable, fish, egg rolls, seaweeds, marron jam and so on! Each food represents security, richness, health and fertility for family.
These foods are cooked on the day night before (New Year’s Eve). All the dishes can be preserved for a couple of days so we can eat them at least for three days! It also lets housewives relax themselves in their own houses without cooking!
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Many kinds of dish filled in Osechi ryouri!
Now we would like to introduce what kinds of dish there are in Osechi ryouri. Major part of them tastes sweet to keep dishes fresh. We can show you some Osechi ryouri and you’ll know what each dish means as well!
- Kurikinton (Sweet potate jam with chestnuts)
Kurikinton is made of sweet potate mixed with chestnuts. It is like jam so we can spread on bread and cookies! It’s also suitable for the children as a snack because it’s very nutritious food which contains: protein, potassium, zinc, and vitamin A, B, C. Kurikinton means “victory” and its golden color is compared to the treasures wishing family for a rich year.
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Kuromame is boiled black beans seasoned with sugar and soy sauce. It’s easy to cook but it needs to follow a recipe precisely to make it shiny and at least 8 hours to finish!
Mame means “work diligently” as well as “bean”. So we wish that we can work well keeping health all the year. We can feel strong just to see that dark black color, can’t we!?
- Tazukuri (Sweetened anchovy)
This cute fish is called Tazukuri that is one of the important dish of Osechi ryouri. The sweetened anchovies are generally skewered but we can dish up in many ways.
This is also one of three cerebrated side dishes both in Kanto district but in Kansai district.
The word of Tazukuri comes from the use as manure in the field wishing for a good harvest.
- Datemaki (Egg rolls)
At first sight Datemaki looks like a roll cake filled with whip cream! But it’s made of egg and a symbol of bright year. There is no Osechi ryouri without Datemaki to show it gorgeously.
There are many recipes to cook Datemaki. Its ingredients is basically egg but we can create many kinds of Datemaki adding meat, noodle, hanpen (process fish) etc…
Once we eat Datemaki, it starts to melt in the mouth without chewing. That’s why the children and the old people prefer Datemaki to the others.
It’s of course ideal for snack whenever you like during the year.
- Namasu (Vinegary vegetable)
Namasu is a vegetable dish mixed with mainly shredded carrot and Japanese radish seasoned with sweetened vinegar.
We can also enjoy adding other ingredients like yuzu, leek, sesame, aburaage (deep-fried bean curd) and so on.
The color of vegetables red (orange) and white means happiness in Japan. So it’s suitable dish to celebrate the New Year’s Day!
- Chikuzenni (Boiled mixed vegetable)
This Chikuzenni is the first dish cooked for Osechi ryouri since it’s get started. It makes us fun and joyful with its cute shapes and various colors. Chikuzenni is less sweet than the other Osechi dishes. We can taste salty rather than sweet.
The vegetables cooked in Chikuzenni are generally renkon (lotus root), carrot, gobou (root), green bean, chicken, konnyaku etc…
Especially renkon makes us see wonderful future through these holes.
Chikuzenni can be served every moment of the year regardless of the New Year’s Day. It’ll be the best side dish for beer and rice. Not only nutritious but also less calories.
- Kamaboko (Boiled fish paste)
Kamaboko is fresh Osechi dish made of the paste of cod, shark and wrasse. It’s only food in Osechi ryouri without condiments. So we usually eat it with soy sauce. It’s very simple but suitable for every Japanese dish.
Its original form is long like Datemaki and served a sliced piece. The surface is very smooth and wet with slightly curved top. The exterior color of Kamaboko is pink and interior is white. It’s symbol of dawn of the new year and happiness.
- Kazunoko (Herring roe)
This particular Osechi dish is herring roe. It’s crispy and easy to squash in the mouth. Kazunoko is usually preserved in salt but when we prepare for it, salt should be washed away.
Kazunoko is compared to children as an Osechi dish. Eating this herring roe means fertility and prosperity for generations. We can enjoy other taste adding katsuobushi (flakes of smoked tuna), vegetables and seaweeds.
- Jubako (Five-tiered of square lacquer box)
Jubako is the square lacquer box to fill Osechi ryouri. The traditional color of Jubako is black in exterior and red in interior. Generally it’s composed of five boxes and it means wish for many happiness and fortunes over and over.
We usually leave the top box empty so that the fortunes and happiness can come there more.
Today we can find many designs and forms of Jubako. But those styles maintain an elegant traditional Jubako in every part.