I mentioned earlier about Osechi. There are a couple of other things to mention about Japanese New Year’s food namely about the utensils. The food is eaten in a black lacquerware box (although I suspect my version doesn’t have too much lacquer in it). You can actually pre-order from various supermarkets and department stores and prices are very high going over £100 for even a basic “box” full of food. The other thing to mention is that special chopsticks are used. The two types of chopsticks are illustrated below with the normal chopsticks above and the New Year’s chopsticks below. Specifically the chopsticks have two ends. I think the idea is that your eat food with one end of the chopsticks and the gods eat at the other end.
Onto the food. I found a number of recipes on the internet and made some things. Others I bought ready-made. This is the food.
The various foods are named below.
Chikuzenni: this is a light chicken stew with Japanese vegetables.
Salmon Kombu Roll: this is a small fillet of salmon rolled in a sheet of seaweed and then boiled.
Namasu: carrot and daikon salad.
Kazunoko: this is herring roe. It is quite expensive so I only bought a small amount. Actually it’s a bit bitter and, while it is complements the other foods, I wouldn’t want to eat too much of it.
Simmered shrimp: I had intended to make this but ended up buying some prepared stuff from the supermarket as I couldn’t find smaller (read: less expensive) packets of shrimp.
Tazukuri: candied sardines. Again store bought. I may try and make these myself at some point in the future.
Kuri Kinton: sweet potatoes with candied chestnuts. The same recipe I used for Christmas Dinner.
Kuromane: sweet black beans, again store bought. They taste like they shouldn’t be too difficult to make though.
Datemaki: an egg roll. I have to buy this from the store as I don’t have an oven. Rolled omelettes are a common food in Japan but this is different as it has a more spongey/cakey texture.
Kamaboko with Salmon Roe: Kamaboko is a type of fishcake. As can be seen it has a cat face stamped through the middle of it. It is sliced with salmon roe stuffed between the slices.