Zoni-Healthy Japanese Home Cooking
I’ve put together a series of tasty recipes for healthy Japanese dishes that are simple to make, wherever in the world you might be. I hope you’ll enjoy mastering Japanese home cooking while learning how to use ingredients that are good for health and beauty.
Zoni soup is an essential part of the Japanese New Year feast. Even within Japan, the ingredients and seasoning vary from household to household and from one region to another, as do the shape of the mochi (glutinous rice cakes) and the way in which they are cooked.
As such, it is a deeply interesting dish that provides a real insight into Japanese culinary culture.
The recipe here is for Tokyo-style zoni, with a broth made from bonito and kelp stock flavored with soy sauce. There are five key points to remember in order to make delicious zoni.
(1)Prepare the stock carefully from scratch using soft water. Do not use stock granules or frozen stock.
(2)Use saké and mirin.
(3)Toast the mochi thoroughly on a low heat.
(4)Use Welsh onion (or other scallion) to add depth to the aroma.
(5)Do not overboil it before adding the finishing touches.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
・Chicken thigh 100g
・Kamaboko (steamed fish paste)* 30g
・Welsh onion 10cm
・Daikon radish 2cm
・Mitsuba (Japanese parsley) 1 bunch
・Dried bonito flakes 20g
・Dried kelp 10g
・Soy sauce 1.5 tablespoons
・Mirin 1.5 tablespoons
・Saké 1.5 tablespoons
・Salt A little
*If you can’t get kamaboko, yuzu, and mitsuba, you can substitute crab sticks, lemon, and green beans.
1.Place 1L of cold water in a saucepan with the dried kelp and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. After that, place the pan on the heat. When a fine foam forms around the edge of the saucepan, remove the kelp.
2.Once the stock boils, turn the heat off and place the dried bonito flakes into the pan, ensuring that they are distributed evenly throughout the stock.
3.After 1-2 minutes, tip the contents of the pan into a strainer lined with kitchen paper, using a bowl underneath to collect the filtered stock.
4.Prepare the zoni ingredients. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and boil until cooked through. Peel the daikon radish and slice it thinly. Chop the Welsh onion into rectangular pieces. Slice the kamaboko into 4.
Cut the peel off the yuzu. Use a cutter to cut the carrot into the shape of flowers. Boil the mitsuba in salted water, then chill and tie into bundles of 7-8 stems.
Cutters for cutting vegetables into different shapes can be purchased from department stores and shops selling knives and other kitchen utensils. They also make a great souvenir of any trip to Japan.
5.Place the stock into a saucepan, turn the heat on, and boil the daikon radish and carrot.
6.Toast the mochi in a toaster oven or frying pan. A proper wire grill for toasting mochi over an open flame is also useful. Toast on a low heat until the inside of the mochi swells up and the outside is turning golden brown.
7.Once the daikon radish is cooked through, add the chicken, soy sauce, mirin, and saké. Finally, add the Welsh onion and simmer quickly.
8.Lay the daikon radish on the bottom of each bowl, then arrange the mochi and the rest of the ingredients on top. Pour the piping-hot stock over them and top with the yuzu peel. Enjoy!
Graduate of the University of Tokyo. Researches culinary culture and foods that promote longevity and beauty. Studied basic medical science and life science at university. After studying organic food and Kushi macrobiotics, she began to conduct culinary research independently. Her motto is “simple ways to stay beautiful.” Her specialty is healthy dishes ideal for the busy woman of today. She also teaches yoga and has a popular blog（http://saqai.com/）.
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