This year I made a very simple vegetarian version of Ozoni Soup, a traditional Japanese soup made on New Year's Day. While the soup usually calls for meat broth with sliced chicken or pork, steamed fish cake, vegetables and mochi. I used organic vegetable broth and just four more ingredients to create this easy peasy vegetarian/vegan Ozoni Soup.
Thank you to my friend Gordon who kindly gave me a hostess gift of mochi when he recently came by for dinner. It was in a decorative plastic container with a little "Maneki Neko" or beckoning cat ornament that symbolizes good fortune. The presentation was so cute and fancy. It was a "kagami" or double stacked mochi made especially for New Year's Day.
The main ingredients for the soup were napa cabbage, carrot the mochi and vegetable broth.
To the broth I also added a single piece of konbu seaweed. Also known as "sea bones" this particular kind of dried seweed is often used a base for broths and stocks. It is discarded before serving.
I sliced the cabbage and placed in two bowls. The stalk sections I added to the broth first to allow them to cook just a bit longer than the thinner leaves.
And because it was a special occasion I went all out and used a metal vegetable cutter to make my carrots beautiful. The crab shaped veggie cutter was something I picked up years ago (I think) at Sur la Table as part of a set of three decorative shapes. You can also cut them by hand with an xacto knife.
The mochi container had to be torn open. Then I took a sharp knife and cut the section in two.
I put one piece of the mochi on a small baking sheet and popped it in the toaster oven to bake at 350º for a few minutes. As it bakes it softens and begins to puff up and out.
The broth and veggies cooking. I also added some frozen green peas at the last minute. I love their bright color and the extra bit of flavor they add to any soup.
The easiest way to eat the soup and break apart the mochi is with Japanese chopsticks
The finished soup was delicious and so easy to make! Here's a short description of the recipe I used to make this single serving for one:
Vegetarian/Vegan Ozoni Soup Recipe
1 dried or fresh mochi (baked)
3 leaves of napa cabbage (sliced)
1 wide carrot (cut with decorative vegetable cutter)
1/8 cup frozen green peas
1.5 cups vegetable broth (this was how much I had leftover from another recipe)
1 cup water added to broth
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste (freshly ground)
- Place mochi in toaster oven at 300º for approximately 5 minutes
- Slice cabbage and carrots separating cabbage stalk and leaf sections into two bowls
- Heat broth to boiling in pot then reduce heat to medium.
- Add carrots and napa cabbage stalks and cook for around 4 minutes
- Add cabbage leaves and frozen peas to cook for 2-3 minutes
- Ladle soup and veggies into bowl
- Add baked mochi and immerse in broth. It will quickly soften in the liquid and become easy to break small sections off
You can add all kinds of veggies to this soup including spinach, mizuna greens, renkon (lotus root) or shitake mushroom. Just remember to cook the thicker, tougher veggies first and add the thinner more delicate ones at the end so they don't over cook.
A Word of Caution: Mochi is cooked sweet rice that is pounded into a sticky mass. The result is that mochi is very sticky and if too big of a bite is swallowed without proper chewing it is very easy to choke, even to death, on a bite of mochi. So eat small bites and chew well.
For my Ozoni Soup recipe with chicken broth, meat and fish cake CLICK HERE