Ozoni is a traditional Japanese soup eaten for New Year’s. It generally consists of a simple broth with a few simple ingredients. There is great variation, however—if you Google it, you will see many, many different versions, but the one that my mother (Caity's grandmother) prepares is quite simple and we do it exactly the way she does.
Growing up, I was always told that ozoni must be the first thing consumed on New Year’s Day in order to ensure that one would have good luck in the New Year, and we have continued that tradition in our family--to sometimes varying degrees of enthusiasm, particularly when the kids were younger. But now it’s become something that we look forward to preparing and eating on New Year’s morning, and we have a steady stream of friends dropping by to share in the good fortune of the New Year. It is also nice and soothing for a stomach that may have ingested a little too much champagne on New Year's Eve.
Our version is just a clear broth (simple enough to make with dried konbu, or kelp, and bonito flakes; but we use Hondashi dried instant broth as my mother does), daikon, a few slices of carrot cut into flower shapes (this is a must, sorry), some fresh mizuna greens, and the most important part—mochi cakes. (I also like to add a few dried shrimp, but only in mine; that’s where my family draws the line.) If you can't find mizuna, you could substitute fresh spinach perhaps, or maybe even arugula, or any green that you find satisfying that will bring a bit of green color and flavor to the soup. (If you are wondering what in the world hondashi, daikon or mizuna leaves are, see ingredient list below for more information.)
The mochi cake—purchased either fresh or frozen, however you can find it where you live—becomes nice and stretchy and delicious when it’s hot, and so delicious in the soup. Eat it with much Good Luck in the New Year!
Two years ago: Lemony Crab and Spinach Pasta Salad, Killian's Irish Brown Bread, Pumpkin Bread Pudding