Ozoni (Japanese New Year Mochi Soup - Kanto Style)
Ozoni (Japanese New Year Mochi Soup) is one of the most popular and important dishes of Osechi Ryori, or traditional Japanese New Year foods. The preparation varies by region and household; this variation with a clear, dashi-based broth comes from the Kanto region in Eastern Japan. Enjoy this hearty mochi soup with chicken and seasonal vegetables for breakfast on New Year's Day.
Keyword: mochi soup, ozoni
Author: Namiko Chen
1chicken thigh(5.6 oz, 160 g; you can increase the amount if you'd like; skip for vegetarian/vegan)
¼tspkosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)(for the chicken)
Before You Start: Please note that this recipe calls for homemade dashi that takes a minimum of 20 minutes to make. Please see my recipe for How to Make Dashi. If you don't have time to make this Japanese soup stock from scratch, you can use a Dashi Packet or Dashi Powder.
Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare the Ingredients
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put them in a small bowl. Then, add the kosher salt.
Add the sake and mix well with your hands. Let the chicken marinate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, blanch the komatsuna (or spinach) in boiling water and cook until tender (do not overcook). Remove from the pot and soak it in iced water to stop the cooking.
Squeeze the water out of the komatsuna and cut it into pieces 1½ inches (3 cm) long. Set aside.
Make a knot in the stem of each mitsuba sprig (optional). Set aside for garnish. Next, peel the skin of the yuzu (optional).
Flip the pieces over and remove any white pith. Then, slice the strips of yuzu zest into very thin julienned strips. Place on a small dish and set aside to serve as garnish later.
To Cook the Soup
Add the dashi to a large saucepan or pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the chicken pieces.
Cover to cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
Once the chicken is cooked, skim off the foam and fat from the surface of the soup with a fine-mesh strainer.
Add the sake, soy sauce, and salt. Stir well and keep it on a simmer.
Once the soup broth and toppings are ready, place the mochi (rice cakes) directly on the rack of a toaster oven and toast until puffy. You can also toast the mochi over an open flame, under a broiler, or in a frying pan.
Serve the chicken and soup in individual serving bowls. Add one piece of toasted mochi on top of the soup in each bowl. Top with the komatsuna, mitsuba (optional) and yuzu (optional). Enjoy immediately.
Remove the mochi and store the leftover soup in an airtight container or in the pot; keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I recommend toasting and adding the mochi to the soup just prior to serving.