Japanese Cooking Blog with Asako Nonaka #20
Asako Nonaka ◆ January 3, 2017
Akemashite-omedeto-gozaimasu! It means “Happy New Year!” in Japanese. How was 2016 for you? I hope you had a great last year and you will have a healthy new year too! This time, I am going to write about Japanese food culture in the New Year.
The New Year is called “Shogatsu” and it is the most important period for Buddhists because the God of the New Year, called Toshigami-sama, comes to each home to bring fortune. Believers prepare a feast for Toshigami-sama before the New Year. The cuisine is called “Osechi-ryori.” “Osechi” means “dividing the seasons” and “ryori” means “cooking.” People eat osechi-ryori from the 1st to the 3rd of January to celebrate the New Year and pray for happiness. Recently, the convenience stores are open from January 1st but in the old days all stores were closed during the New Year so the osechi-ryori were mostly made from preserved foods. They would eat osechi-ryori instead of cooking for 3 days. The wives that were always busy with cooking meals could finally rest for a while.
Osechi-ryori is put in a colorful square bento box. Kelp roll, simmered chicken and vegetables, boiled black beans, mashed sweet potatoes with chestnuts, sweet rolled omelet, candied dried sardine, and red and white salad are decoratively places in the bento box. You can buy them at the Japanese grocery stores in NY but a lot of sugar and salt are used for preservation. There are many additives put in as well.
You don’t have to cook them all but how about cooking one dish per year and adding the handmade osechi-ryori one by one? Once you learn, you can cook it every year. After several years you will be able to cook many handmade osechi-ryori.
This time I will introduce how to cook red and white salad called “Kohaku-namasu”.
This is made from daikon radish and carrot and is marinated with vinegar and sugar. We eat this during the New Year because the two colors are similar to a decorative Japanese cord called “Mizuhiki”.
It is easier to use a grater to prepare daikon radish and carrot. Using modern tools, let’s enjoy healthy and easy Japanese cooking together in 2017 as well!!
Recipe: Red and White Salad “Kohaku-namasu”
- 400g of daikon radish
- 60g of carrot
- 2 tsp of salt
- 2 &1/2 tbsp of sugar
- 3 tbsp of rice vinegar
- citrus peel
- Cut daikon radish and carrot into thin strips.
- Add salt and let it sit for 5 minutes. Mix the sugar and rice vinegar in a container.
- Squeeze daikon radish and carrot lightly and drain the water. Put them into the seasoning container and mix.
- Keep it in the fridge.
- Garnish with the citrus peel.