In Japanese homes on the first day of the year, the dish to eat is ozoni, a soup composed of pink-rimmed fish cake, daikon, carrot, and shiitake mushrooms floating in a rich dashi (kelp and bonito broth) along with mochi, chewy rice cakes, which are oven-toasted until they resemble fire-licked marshmallows. The preparation varies by region. Sometimes chicken broth is used; Napa cabbage or pork can be added. Wherever it is served, ozoni is said to bring good luck, but for me, the medium is the message: I feel blessed just to have this steaming bowl in front of me, ready to be devoured in the company of loved ones. —Nancy Matsumoto
Find this recipe in our cookbook, SAVEUR: Soups and Stews
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces
- 4 oz. daikon radish, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick on the bias
- 1 carrot, sliced 1/4″ thick on the bias
- 4 oz. kamaboko (Japanese fish cake), sliced 1/4″ thick
- 1 cup spinach, stems trimmed
- 1 tbsp. sake
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 4 kiri mochi (glutinous rice cakes), 1″ x 2″, about 1/2″ thick
- Mitsuba or parsley sprigs, for garnish
- Place shiitakes in a bowl. Bring 1 cup stock to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan and pour over shiitakes; let sit until softened, 4-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shiitakes to another bowl and discard stems. Pour stock back into pan, discarding any dirt or sediment.
- Add remaining stock and the chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; add daikon and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Add reserved shiitakes, the sliced fish cake, spinach, sake, soy sauce, and salt; cook until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Keep soup warm.
- Heat oven to 425°. Place glutinous rice cakes directly on an oven rack; bake, turning as needed, until browned in spots and puffed, 6-8 minutes. Divide rice cakes between 4 bowls and ladle soup over top; garnish with mitsuba sprigs. Serve hot.