Welcome to another episode of Anime Recipes, the tastiest MANGA.TOKYO column, where we put our otaku apron on and make dishes that appear in anime!
What is Osechi?
Osechi is a traditional New Year’s Day Japanese dish that is made to celebrate the new year. It’s a yearly pleasure that is served in stacked boxes that have many levels which represent layers of happiness!
The colorful foods that we put in the boxes all have their own special meaning, and are created in such way as to symbolize things like ‘long life’, ‘fertility’, and ‘money’.
Osechi can be traced back to dishes served during rituals in the imperial court of the Heian Period, around 1300 years ago, though the food then wasn’t stacked in boxes. During the Edo Period, the imperial culture spread among the commoners. They say people started eating osechi out of boxes after the Meiji Period. Nowadays, you can buy osechi at department stores and even online. For younger generations who don’t like traditional osechi, there are hybrid osechi that are inspired by Chinese or French cosine! The Kawamoto family’s osechi which appears in 3-Gatsu no Lion is a modern version.
Now that you have learned some trivia about osechi, I assume you’re getting hungry. Are you? Okay, then I will start making the osechi right now. But before I start, let’s take a look at a complete box.
I’ll show you how to make 6 kinds of food that will fill your osechi box with happiness!
Today’s Recipe: Kawamoto Family’s Modern Osechi
[A] Chikuzenni (Japanese vegetable stew)
Ingredients (For 2 people)
- Lotus root … 200g
- Carrot … 1
- Podded peas … 8
- Sugar. .. 1 tbsp
- Soy sauce … 1.5 tbsp
- Mirin … 1.5 tbsp
- Sake … 1.5 tbsp
- Dashi stock … 100cc
The first step is to cut your ingredients!
Peel the lotus root. Cut it into 2cm thick pieces, make V-shaped cuts between the holes on the sides to make ditches. It’ll be easier if you use the corner of a heart-shaped mold like in the picture. After you make cuts between every hole, round the edges with a knife, arrange them like flowers, and soak them in water with a little rice vinegar added to it.
Peel the carrots and cut them into 2cm thick pieces. Cut them with a plum blossom mold and make a cut between each petal, then cut diagonally on the surface toward each cut to make distinct petals.
Cut the konnyaku into 7mm pieces. Make cuts in the center of the pieces. Then, pull the two corners through the hole in the middle. When the konnyaku gets twisted like a horse’s reins, boil it to get rid of the smell.
Remove the strings and boil them for about a minute.
That’s all for the prep. Next, let’s stew the ingredients!
Pour some oil into a heated pan. Put the carrots, the lotus root and the konnyaku into the pot in this order, and add soup stock, sugar, soy sauce, mirin, and sake.
When the soup starts boiling, set the heat to low. Cover it with a drop-lid, or aluminum foil, and simmer for around 20 minutes.
When the vegetables get soft, add the podded peas and it’s ready to eat ♪
Chikuzenni is a common home-cooked dish not exclusive to New Year’s Day.
Since you have to simmer the various ingredients together, Chikuzenni symbolizes the wish that the family stays united and the relationships in the family become strong.
[B] Burdock Root Wrapped in Meat
Ingredients (For 2 people)
- Burdock root… 1/2
- Thinly sliced pork … 6 pieces
- Soup stock … 80 ml
- Sugar, vinegar, sake and soy sauce … 1 tbsp each
Cut the burdock root into 6 cm long pieces and divide them equally into 6 parts. Wrap 4 to 6 pieces of burdock with a piece of pork.
Heat oil in the pot and place the wrapped burdock root with the seam of the pork down. When the pork browns, pour the sauce into the pot and simmer on low heat for an hour. When the sauce boils down, turn off the heat and put the lid on. When it cools down completely, it’s ready to eat ♪
Burdock root is thin and long, and roots strongly in soil. It represents a wish for long happiness.
Burdock root wrapped in meat is also a very common side dish in a regular bento!
[C] Kuri Kinton
- Sweet potato … 1
- Candied chestnut … 1 small jar (165g)
- Mirin … 2 tablespoons
- pich of salt
Peel the sweet potato thickly and cut it into 2cm thick wedges, and soak it into water for at least 10 minutes. Put the pat-dried sweet potato into a pot, pour plenty of water over it and put it over medium heat. When it starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and keep it simmering. When you can stab the sweet potato easily, drain the water.
Put it back into the pot, put it on the heat, and mash it with a paddle. Add candied chestnut syrup from the chestnut jar, mirin, and salt, and combine until it’s smooth.
When it’s smooth, add a candied chestnut and it’s ready to eat ♪
Kuri kinton is so smooth and mild, and it’s delicious as a desert. It’s also full of candied chestnuts, so it’s visually gorgeous as well!
Kuri kinton means golden dumplings or even a heavy blanket. The golden color is associated with gold, so they say it attracts economic fortune.
[D] Mini Turtle Hamburger
Ingredients (For 6 pieces)
- Chopped onion … 1/2 a small onion
- Breadcrumbs … 5 tbsp
- Ground beef and pork … 160g
- Mini sausage … 6
- Egg … 1
- Shimeji mushroom … as needed
- Bean … as needed
- Ketchup … 1 tbsp
- Worcester sauce … 1 tbsp
- Mayonnaise … to taste
- Salt … 1/2 tsp
- Dash of pepper
Put the ground meat, salt, pepper and egg into a bowl, and knead it well. Chop the onion finely and mix with breadcrumbs. Add to the meat and mix them well.
Divide the meat equally into 6 parts and form them into a barrel shape. Stick mini sausages into them, and add mushrooms and beans onto them to make them look like turtles.
Pour oil into a heated pan, and fry the hamburgers on medium heat. When they brown, flip them over, add 2 tablespoons of water, then cover and steam them for 5 minutes.
Mix ketchup and Worcester sauce and spread it on the hamburgers. Draw turtle shell patterns on them with mayonnaise and they’re ready to eat!
Since turtles live long, they are viewed as a symbol of long life. They are also considered to be lucky animals. It’s a must-have motif for happy events like wedding ceremonies. However, osechi doesn’t usually have hamburgers, so this is an original Kawamoto family recipe.
[E] Pork and Beans
Ingredients (For 4 people)
- Ground pork … 100g
- Chopped garlic … 1/2 clove
- Chopped onion … 1/2
- Bay leaf … 1 leaf
- Mixed beans … 1 can
- Sake … 1 tbsp
- Tomato juice … 200ml
- Worcester sauce … 1 tsp
- Salt and pepper … to taste
Heat the pan over medium heat. Fry the pork, garlic, onion, and bay leaf seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. When the meat changes color, add mixed beans and keep frying.
Add sake and simmer for around a minute, then add tomato juice, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
When finished, season with Worcester sauce, salt and pepper, and it’s ready to eat ♪
There’s a simmered black bean dish in osechi. They say that the word ‘mame’, the Japanese word for beans, originally meant health. Also, this dish represents a wish for hearty work, since the word can be used as a pun on a Japanese expression: ‘mame ni hataraku’ (which means to work hard). In the Kawamoto family’s osechi, it seems that they made pork and beans using mixed beans instead of black beans.
[F] Hanpen Red and White Dango
Ingredients (For 2 people)
- Hanpen … 1 slice
- Red food coloring … a few drops
How to Make
Cut the hanpen in half, put each half into a plastic bag and knead them well into a paste. Add food coloring to one of them and knead until it’s evenly pink.
Roll both kinds of hanpen into bite-sized balls. Wrap them with food wrap like candy like in the picture, and then microwave them for 30 seconds at 600w.
Skewer them alternately with bamboo skewers and it’s ready to eat ♪
In osechi, there’s a food called kamaboko, which is solidified minced fish. The Kawamoto family substituted kamaboko for hanpen. Hanpen is made from minced fish and egg white that is mixed and solidified. It’s soft and fluffy.
The red and white colors are traditional and they might remind you of the Japanese flag! They are a well-used combination in events like New Year’s Day or wedding ceremonies.
Happy New Anime 2017 with your very own Osechi!
How was it? (⋆‿⋆)
The members of the Kawamoto family in 3-Gatsu no Lion are unique in their own way. The eldest Akari is good at cooking, the middle child Hinata is a caring person, and the youngest Momo has a warm heart. They have already made a lot of good looking dishes appear during the Kawamoto family meals in addition to osechi. The Kawamoto family has a warmth which embraces everything.
When you are alone and lonely, 3-Gatsu no Lion is an anime I highly recommend! Hot meals and the cheerful Kawamoto family are waiting for you.
Look forward to the next Anime Recipe!