Japanese New Years Food Osechi Ryori

2012 new year japan

I wrote Japanese new years food Osechi Ryori before and it is this page.  This is my second time writing about Osechi.  So it:s been 2 years after I startedd this blog.  I just came back from Japan visit my parents this New Year.  I post pictures of my mother’s Osech and my family’s Osechi.

osechi ryori

osechi

The term osechi originally referred to o-sechi, a season or significant period. New Year’s Day was one of the five seasonal festivals (節句 sekku) in the Imperial Court in Kyoto. This custom of celebrating particular days was introduced from China into Japan. If you read more about Osaechi ryori, go this page.

I realized this year that Osechi doesn’t have much meat. Traditionally, Japanese people eat fish. So, there are many cooked fish and vegetable foods. Also those are preserved foods, so they use a lot of sugar. I figure out, that is why I like Osechi Ryori so much!

Some of my friends said they don’t care about Osechi. I love this food very much and I must have them once a year, otherwise, I don’t feel like New Year come.

sushi new year food atsuage tofu nimono kegani crub

Also i write about my family traditions here. We have a New Year’s reunion every year. I missed it these past 2 years, because I didn’t go back home.

My grandmother is very good with Osekihan which is red bean (azuki) bean rice. Azuki bean rice is famous for celebration food. It is very popular that Japanese people eat this rice when they have some celebration. (ex:new year, marriage ceremony, have a baby, etc) If you want to read more about Osekihan, go to this page.

I think still my grandmother’s Osekihan is the best, but her son’s wife (my aunt) is continuing making it every year after my grandmother passed away. Those are mother’s taste which is comfort food for Japanese and rustic food but I love them. She is very good at making it just like my grandma. Some of the other dishes on this page, I made these differently. I truly love my aunt taste of those foods when I go to her house for New Year’s day reunion.

Japanese New Year food Osechi ryori

Osechi

Japanese New Year food called Osechi ryori. Osechi ryōri (御節料理 or お節料理) are traditional Japanese New Year foods. The tradition started in the Heian Period (794-1185). Osechi are easily recognizable by their special boxes called jūbako (重箱), which resemble bentō boxes. Like bentō boxes, jūbako are often kept stacked before and after use.

The term osechi originally referred to o-sechi, a season or significant period. New Year’s Day was one of the five seasonal festivals (節句 sekku) in the Imperial Court in Kyoto. This custom of celebrating particular days was introduced from China into Japan. If you read more about Osaechi ryori, go this page.

Osechi

Picture above: Osechi ryori

This is my girlfriend made to this new year.  She had been cooking this every year since she married.  I had never made it whole things.  Now a days, you can buy those already made package from store.  My mother makes this every year.  This picture has black bean-Kuro mame which I made this time.  I made Kuromame couple times already.

Left yellow egg roll called Datemaki (伊達巻 or 伊達巻き),  sweet rolled omelette mixed with fish paste or mashed shrimp. They symbolize a wish for many auspicious days. On auspicious days (晴れの日, hare-no-hi), Japanese people traditionally wear fine clothing as a part of enjoying themselves. One of the meanings associated with the second kanji includes “fashionability,” derived from the illustrious dress of the samurai from Date Han.

Left top white and pink are Kamaboko (蒲鉾), broiled fish paste. Traditionally, slices of red and white kamaboko are alternated in rows or arranged in a pattern. The color and shape are reminiscent of Japan rising sun, and have a celebratory, festive meaning.

Next to Pink kamaboko, yellow stuff (difficult to see it is picture, sorry) Kazunoko (数の子), herring roe. Kazu means “number” and ko means “child”. It symbolizes a wish to be gifted with numerous children in the New Year.

Right top is Kuri kinton which is sweet potato paste and chestnuts.

Next black stuff is Konbu (昆布), a kind of seaweed. It is associated with the word yorokobu, meaning “joy”.

Right bottom is shrimp, it’s call Ebi in Japanese and skewered prawns cooked with sake and soy sauce.

Left bottom is Kuro-mame (黒豆), black soybeans. Mame also means “health,” symbolizing a wish for health in the New Year.

matsumae zuke

This is Konbu (昆布), a kind of seaweed. It is associated with the word yorokobu, meaning “joy”.  Konbu, squid and carrots mixed with soy sauce and vineger. 

kuromame

This is Kuro-mame (黒豆), black soybeans. Mame also means “health,” symbolizing a wish for health in the New Year.

kuromame kuromame kuromame kuromame kuromame

I will put Kuromame recipe later to another page.

Basic Japanese Recipes

Basic Japanese Recipes

This page has many Basic Japanese recipes -Japanese. Why did I put “-Japanese”? Because, Japanese people are good at adopting things and creating a better way. You may analyze some of the Japanese food you see and think “this is not Japanese food” but it actually is.

So I want to separate original Japanese recipes and other Japanese recipes. These are original Japanese recipes. This is what they call it in Japan “Mother’s Taste” or “Comfort food”. These recipes are everyday foods and original Japanese meals.

Because they are original Japanese meals, you are not familiar with some ingredients. I will put here some of what I can buy from the Asian stores in my town. My town is not big town. Not so many big Asian markets out there. Your town would be a different. You may find more ingredients, or you may not find any at all. I will list ingredients that you can buy in U.S. grocery store as much as possible.
Anyway, if you learn the basic Japanese cooking, Japanese cooking is not difficult. Like Japanese culture, buy the season’s freshest ingredients and enjoy the season’s food and cooking!

Japanese cooking and culture

There are not so many Japanese cooking shows on TV. I mean, those introducing Japanese foods and teaching you authentic Japanese recipes. Some Japanese recipes are even quick and easy recipes! So you can easily try them in your home.

Food is a culture – big time culture – in Japan. I believe Japanese food culture is one of the best in the world. Japanese people are pretty much gourmets. In Japan, there are many TV shows that introduce new restaurants every day. You would be surprised that almost any Japanese TV channel has restaurant or hotel meal shows every minute of air time. You often see so many people waiting in line in front of the restaurants in Japan. Those are the restaurants they just saw on the show the night before.Just like Sony, Panasonic, Honda and Toyota, Japanese people are very good to adopt foreign products and make them much better. Japan does the same for food. I heard of an Italian business man who came from Italy and my co-worker took them to an Italian restaurant in Japan. They said they liked it very much and it was better than in Italy. Do you know the Michelin Restaurant guide in Tokyo was started selling in 2007? For example, the wine, Beaujolais Nouveau, was the second most imported wine into Japan. Japanese people truly like to have good food and it has been a custom in Japanese culture.

If you love cooking, you will enjoy new tastes from Japan. I want people to know that some Japanese restaurants, they call themselves Japanese, are not even close to real one. If you know the good taste of Japanese cooking, you can choose great tasting foods and restaurants yourself.

Have you ever been in an Asian Grocery store? I bet you wanted to try some products and groceries. Maybe you saw some easy Japanese cooking products like instant or boxed foods but you were not quite sure what the package contains and were scared to try it. Or, you saw something that looked really weird and you may say “What can I do with this?” You may find something looking and sounding familiar to you, but you do not read the writing on Japanese recipes so you didn’t buy it.

Well…I feel this way! In my case, it’s not Japanese food, but some other exotic food.

So, I want to introduce you to the taste of Japanese food, Japanese cooking, Japanese recipes, quick and easy recipes, and Japanese food culture so you can cook your favorite dishes in your home and eat them. I will put a lot of pictures along with the recipe instructions. It will tell you step-by-step how to make it. Also, I’ll tell you what ingredients you need to buy, what the Japanese food culture and foods are, so you will understand more about Japanese food and cooking.

Now, you can enjoy real, authentic, delicious, quick and easy, ordinary Japanese food yourself. Eat healthy, inexpensively and enjoy Japanese cooking!