Happy New Year!!! Here is New Year’s Feast, Osechi-ryori,which was prepared by my sister, Keiko Arakawa in Tokyo. Keiko, unlike her two sisters, diligently prepares traditional elaborate New Year’s meals for her family every year. Keiko shared with us her favorites recipes and here are some of them. Thank you, Keiko.
Recipes by Keiko Arakawa;
Tazukuri (candied baby sardine): the name of the recipe sounds a bit scary, but this is a “must” dish, which in the past promised a good harvest of rice…today it leads to to prosperity. Tazukuri is a dish in which baby sardines are toasted until crisp, then, cooked with sugar, shoyu, mirin and sake. Toasting baby fish crisp in a skillet (our Mother’s way) requires patience and time, so Keiko uses modern approach – she microwaves them.
1 1/2 ounces tazukuri (dried baby sardine)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 tablespoon sake
1/3 tablespoon mirin
Place a paper towel on a microwave oven-safe plate. Arrange half of the baby anchovie on top of the paper towel-lined plate without overlapping them. Microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Check the doness by breaking it up – it should feel crisp. Repeat the same process for the second batch of sardine.
In a skillet add the sugar, shoyu, sake and mirin and put it over medium heat. When the mixture starts to sizzle, add the fish and turn off the heat. Gently toss the fish wit the sauce.
Lightly grease another plate and transfer the cooked fish onto it. Let it stand to cool.
Nishiki Tamago (steamed layered egg cake): Nishiki means golden brocade. This gorgeous looking egg dish reminds people of that. I always fought with my sisters to get many portions of my mother’s Nishiki tamago. You need a square cake mold to prepare this dish.
4 large eggs
1 1/5 ounces sugar
Make hard boiled eggs. While the eggs are hot separate the yolks and whites. Press the egg white first through a fine sieve and transfer it to a bowl. After finishing the egg white, press the yolk through the sieve and transfer it to another bowl. Add 1 ounce sugar to the bowl of egg yolk, and the remaining, to the bowl of egg white. Add pinch salt to each bowls. With a spatula, gently fold the egg, salt and sugar.
Cut out and pace a parchment paper on the bottom of the mold. Place additional parchment paper on the sides of the mold. Transfer and fill the egg white in the mold. Press the white gently to level the surface. Place the egg yolk on top of the egg white and, again, gently level the surface (do not press hard).
In a heated steamer cook the egg for 5 minutes. Remove the mold from the steamer and let it stand to cool. Remove the egg cake from the mold and cut it into bite sized squares.
Kurikinton (Sweet Chestnuts): This is a quite sweet dish. Sweet cooked chestnuts which holds thier shape during cooking are tossed with sweet cooked and mashed Japanese sweet potato.
12 pounds Japanese sweet potato
1 jar Chestnut kanroni (cooked chestnut in syrup)
Remove thick skin of Japanese sweet potato and soak it in a cold water overnight. Steam the sweet potato in a high steaming steamer. Press the cooked potato through a fine sieve while it is hot. Transfer the pressed potato to a pot and add the generous amount of chestnut syrup until the potato is lightly loosened. Put the pot over medium heat and cook it, stirring all the time, for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the potato to a bowl and add the drained chestnut kanroni. Let the mixture stand to cool.