Happy New Year 2011- Japanese Style
The New Year tradition in Japanese is to visit your local temple the night of New Year’s Eve, waiting in line, dressed up, dropping coins into the collection grate, ringing the bell, clapping your hands twice and making a brief prayer. Then New Year’s day is a family gathering day, starting off the new year with all who we care for most, while eating lots of good food and drinking very good sake.
This year I was lucky enough to spend it in the company of the Takao family in the East Village, NYC. This is what we ate and drank- be jealous and enjoy. note to reader: if you attempt this at home, please be sure to buy only the freshest raw fish and octopus. Good sake doesn’t mean the most expensive.
Wakatake Sake= Demon Slayer. Very smooth. Drink out of small shot glasses, meant to be sipped. drink at room temperature.
White with kanji: Kamaboko= essentially a fish sausage, made from mashed and compressed fish. This is a special New Year kamaboko that has the kanji for Longevity dyed in pink in the center. A little bit sweet and fishy tasting, goes great with the whole meal. Dip gently in soy sauce for a salty fix.
far back right: Flash Boiled Octopus, coated in apple cider vinegar, parsley and lemon peeling.
far left: Mashed Japanese Sweet Potatoes and Kuri (roasted chestnuts)- the perfect combination of sweetness- also this is the main starch of the night, eat up, lots of drinking to be done!
middle: Kuromame= Black Beans. Grandmother made these from scratch, soaking them in water for hours then adding a nail wrapped in cheese cloth to draw some iron. Traditional this is for longevity, an on going theme.
close up of the octopus- this is so good! if done correctly it isn’t chewy at all, but has a little bit of a bite to it.
The next coarse is Sashimi=raw fish. The dark red in the fore ground is Tuna and the white fish in the back is Red Snapper. Put a little bit of soy sauce in a small dish and add a dash of fresh wasabi (this can be made from a powder, just make it right before your meal). Be sure to try the Sashimi before you drench it in soy sauce, really all you need is a dip. The sauce is meant to accent the delicate taste of the fish.
Last dish: Zouni= Mochi Soup. Mochi=rice goo (unsweet rice cake) made from sticky rice. Ingredients: White with swirly: Kamaboko= essentially a fish sausage, made from mashed and compressed fish, parsley, lemon zest, and carrots.
At this point I’ve had countless number of shots and I really need this Mochi to soak up some alcohol in my stomach. Delish! Also, heating up to the point where I need to remove my sweater.
Be sure to tell us about your New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day traditions and festivities by leaving a comment!
Many Blessings and Positive resolutions in the coming year! xox-riv