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New Year's Soup - {Ozoni}

Traditionally, this is the first food many families eat, even at midnight on December 31. This soup includes many symbolic foods. The pink part of the steamed fish cake (kamaboko) represents the rising sun of the Japan flag for patriotism, and the white part represents purity and honesty. The pounded rice cake (mochi) symbolizes happiness, wealth and good health.

Cuisine: Japanese
Type: Chicken, Fish
Courses: Soup
Serves: 5 people

Recipe Ingredients

1   Dried kelp (kombo) - 4-inch
5 cups 1185mlCold water
1/2 cup 118mlFlaked dried bonito (katsuobushi)
1/4   Spinach or nappa cabbage leaves
1   Boneless skinless chicken breast
3   Dried shiitake mushrooms
5   Fresh rice cakes (mochi)
10   Pink-edged fish cake (kamaboko) - steamed, and
  Cut into 1/4" slices
5   Lemon zest strips - (1 1/4" by 1/8")
  Dried seaweed (nori) - cut 1/4" squares

Recipe Instructions

For the Dashi (Japanese Soup Stock): Wipe off the white powder on the kelp with a damp cloth. Cut 1/2-inch fringes along the edges. Place the water in a saucepan and add the kelp. Bring almost to a boil, uncovered, over medium heat. Remove the kelp. Bring the water to a boil again. Stir the flaked bonito into the pot. Let stand until the flakes settle to the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Strain through a double thickness of damp cheesecloth or through a fine strainer. (Makes 4 cups)

For Assembly: Blanch the spinach or nappa cabbage in boiling water. Rinse it in cold water, squeeze it dry, then cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths. Poach the chicken in water until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Slice it into small pieces. Soften the mushrooms in water for 10 minutes. Remove the hard stems and discard, then slice the mushrooms.

Immediately before serving, broil the rice cakes until lightly browned. Heat the soup stock and spoon into individual bowls. To each serving, add some of the spinach, chicken and mushrooms and 1 rice cake. Then top with fish cake. Garnish with lemon zest and seaweed pieces.

This recipe yields 5 servings.

Each serving: 222 calories; 139 mg sodium; 37 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 17 grams protein; 1.26 grams fiber.

The Los Angeles Times, 01-02-2002


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