What is Osechi Ryori?
Similar to bento boxes, Osechi Ryori are usually packed in 2-3 layers of lacquer boxes (ojubako) and there are many dishes in each layer. The entire family would share one ojubako to enjoy on new year’s day. The multi-tiered boxes symbolize the hope that happiness & wealth come continuously, like the layers of lacquerware.
Popular Osechi Ryori Dishes
A box of Osechi Ryori contains Datemaki (Sweet Rolled Omelette), Namasu (Daikon & Carrot Salad), Chikuzenni (Simmered Chicken & Vegetables), Kazunoko (Herring Roe), Kamaboko (Fish cake with Salmon Roe), Kuromame (Sweet Black Soybeans) Salmon Kombu Roll, Mochi and so on.
Datemaki (Sweet Rolled Omelette)
Typically served in a lacquered jubako (special square boxes similar to lunch box), Datemaki is sweet rolled omelette that makes a very popular Japanese New Year’s food.
Namasu is a daikon and carrot salad that is lightly pickled in sweetened vinegar. This dish was introduced to Japan from China around 700s (Nara period) and it is especially enjoyed during the New Year in Japan. Since red and white are considered celebratory colors in Japan, you will see these colors being used in many traditional ceremonies. This salad is easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time.
Chikuzenni is a classic Japanese dish often served on New Year’s Day. This is also a popular side dish for bento because it can be made in advance and still tastes great at room temperature. For New Year’s dish, the vegetables and konnyaku are cut into fancy shapes to celebrate the occasion.
Kazunoko (Herring Roe)
Kazunoko is salted herring roe that has been marinated in seasoned Dashi. It is a part of Osechi Ryori, the traditional Japanese New Year feast. There are many kinds of dishes for Osechi Ryori, but Kazunoko is one of the big three celebration dishes, along with Kuromame (sweet black beans) and Tazukuri.
With its elegant presentation, Kamaboko with Salmon Roe makes an impressive addition to your osechi ryori. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make the recipe. Simply make small slits across the Kamaboko (fish cake), stuff in shiso leaf, and top with golden salmon roe.
Salmon Kombu Roll
Flavorful salmon rolled up in kombu and tied with kanpyo (gourd strips), Salmon Kombu Roll is a traditional Japanese dish for the New Year. Representing the secrets of perennial youth and long life, you may be tempted to devour more than one of these exquisite appetizers.
Kuromame (Sweet Black Soybeans)
Kuromame literally means “black bean" in Japanese, and it is often served on New Years Day as a part of Osechi Ryori. The shinny black beans make a beautiful contrast to red lacquer jubako container, which holds all different kinds of colorful traditional meals. Eating kuromame also is considered good for your health for the new year.
Homemade Fresh Mochi
Make fresh homemade mochi using a stand mixer. Stuff the mochi with your favorite filling, dip in a savory or sweet coating, or enjoy in Japanese New Year Soup and red bean soup.