Grilled as you like it

Oshogatsu February 21, 2009

Kakudo-family New Year’s feast

During our holiday trip home, we took a short trip to Los Angeles for New Year’s. As always, we started the day with ozoni: mochi in soup. In Japan, it seems like every family has it’s own unique recipe for ozoni that is informed by the region that you live in. At our house, ozoni is made with dashi broth, just a splash of shoyu for saltiness, blanched mizuna (or spinach), kamaboko fish cake (preferably the pink one), and mochi. It’s simple and so good. Of course, we also like hot mochi with shoyu and sugar too. After that, we helped prepare the foods. Here is our New Year’s feast: inari-zushi, maki-zushi, nigiri, tempura shrimp, kohaku namasu, green beans, tai, gobo-maki, teriyaki chicken drumettes, kuri-kinton, kuromame, kamaboko, kombu-maki, lotus roots, nishime (with Shimonita konyaku that I brought from Gunma), komochi kombu, Kobayashi farm dried sweet potatoes, datemaki, and Chinese chicken salad (not a Japanese tradition, but a tradition in our house). Phew! I hope I haven’t forgotten anything. It didn’t seem like so many things while we were making them…

kurikinton, datemaki, kuromame, and Kobayashi farm dried sweet potatoes

Here is my new lacquered jubako (above) that I bought in Kappabashi in Tokyo. The motif is called sho-chiku-bai, meaning the pine tree, bamboo, and plum tree. I hope this lovely box is at many New Year’s meals to come.


We don’t usually have datemaki, a sweet rolled egg cake, but I wanted to try it and found an easy looking recipe in December’s Kyou-no-Ryouri magazine. I didn’t have a square omelet pan, so I baked it in the oven instead. After it was baked, I wrapped it in the oni-sudare rolling mat (see above) to give it ridges and held it shut with rubberbands while it cooled.

I also made the kuromame, but they were much less successful. I’ll have to work on my Japanese-reading ability before next year, because I left the beans in the syrup overnight and it sucked all of the moisture right out of the beans. 😦


Gobo-maki and teriyaki chicken drumettes are definitely a New Year’s tradition in our family. They’re really a favorite among the “kids.”


I made the nigiri sushi while Alex, Jackie, Jenn, Kacy, and EB made the maki-zushi.


adapted from Kyou-no-Ryouri

4 eggs
80-100 grams hampen (steamed fish cake)
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons dashi
1 tablespoon mirin
pinch of salt
vegetable oil

Blend hampen to a paste in a food processor. Add eggs, sugar, dashi, mirin and salt; mix well.

Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer.

Oil a square omelet pan (or square or rectangular baking dish) and cook the egg mixture until cooked through and lightly browned on both sides (if you’re using an omelet pan you will need to flip the eggs). (Depending on the size of your pan you may need to reduce the quantities or cook the eggs in batches because you don’t want it to be so thick that it’s difficult to roll.)

Place the cooked egg cake on the pointed side of an oni-sudare. Roll the mat and egg cake together at first to give it a basic, round shape. Then unroll and roll again, wrapping the mat just outside of the egg cake (like making sushi) to make a pretty, round roll. Fasten the mat closed with rubberbands and allow to cool.

When cool, slice into 1/2 inch slices.


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