Order by Nov 30th to receive your OSHOGATSU (JAPANESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS) themed December Nourishing Essentials and Winter Seasonal Delights Care Packages or try one of our Collections Care Packages for the holidays!

NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (December 2020) - Oshōgatsu (お正月): Japanese New Year Celebrations

SCALLOP & SHIITAKE OSUIMONO

SCALLOP & SHIITAKE OSUIMONO
(帆立だし椎茸お吸物)
Producer: Matsuoka Shiitake Production
Prefecture: Oita

Osuimono (literally “things to sip”) is a clear soup that appears simple at a glance, but because the flavors are so delicate and subtle, it requires fresh high-quality ingredients and can be hard to master. It’s typically served on its own at the end of a meal or before the main course in an elegant multi-course kaiseki meal, or as the base for the Japanese New Year soup called ozōni

For over 100 year, Matsuoka Shiitake Production has specialized in mushroom cultivation, including prized Japanese shiitake mushrooms. Using traditional methods, they grow their mushrooms on kunugi (Japanese Chestnut Oak) logs, giving their mushrooms a distinctive umami-rich flavor. After being picked, the mushrooms are dried naturally in the sun which further enhances their flavors. 

To make this Scallop and Shiitake Osuimono soup, Matsuoka Shiitake Production combines their earthy shiitake mushrooms with other traditional Japanese flavors such as scallops and Japan’s beloved citrus fruit: yuzu. 

Ingredients: Shiitake mushrooms (Oita prefecture), scallop extract, starch, soy sauce (includes wheat and soybeans), mitsuba (wild Japanese parsley), starch, yuzu, salt sugar, yeast extract
Suggested uses: To make a simple soup, add 160ml of hot water, stir, and enjoy, or try making ozōni (Japanese New Years Soup) using the recipe included. 
Nutritional information: N/A 

 KOBUMAKI (KELP ROLL)

KOBUMAKI (KELP ROLL)
(にしん太巻昆布)
Producer: Otani Masakichi Shoten
Prefecture: Tokyo

The tradition of serving osechi ryōri (New Year’s food) started in Japan over one thousand years ago. Each individual dish represents a wish for good health, happiness, and prosperity and are all carefully packed into colorful, lacquered boxes called jubako (special stacked bento-like boxes reserved for osechi). One of these items is a special roll of konbu (kelp) known as kobumaki. It’s made by wrapping a piece of fish in thick kelp, tying it with a bow of dried gourd, and then simmering it gently in soy sauce with a touch of sugar. The result is a savory yet slightly sweet bite-sized morsel that combines the firmness of kelp with the rich taste of fresh fish.

Our producer, Otani Masakichi Shoten, carefully crafts their kobumaki-style kelp roll using thick kelp harvested from the seas around the southern islands of Japan and fresh Pacific herring, which is rolled and delicately tied with a strip of kanpyo (dried gourd). Since their founding, Otani Masakichi Shoten has focused on creating foods that allow their customers to experience and enjoy the blessings of nature. They believe that “food is life” and operate with heartfelt social responsibility.

Ingredients: Kelp, Pacific herring, fermented seasoning, soy sauce, reduced starch syrup, kanpyo (strips of dried gourd), sugar, fish and shellfish extract, yeast extract
Suggested uses: Cut into 3-4 pieces and enjoy as is.
Nutritional information: N/A 

PEANUT NIMAME

PEANUT NIMAME
(落花生煮豆)
Producer: Nature
Prefecture: Kanagawa 

Another common dish served in osechi ryōri is nimame (simmered beans). These beans are gently simmered in soy sauce and sugar, and become more flavorful as time passes. Traditionally, nimame is made with kuromame (black beans) but there are regional variations including simmered peanuts. 

Nimame serves the important role of hashi yasume (literally “chopstick rest”). Typically cold vegetables or pickles, these foods have a clean and simple flavor meant to cleanse the palate. As these peanuts are only slightly sweet, they also provide a balanced contrast to the other salty and rich flavors traditionally found in Japanese meals. Eating each peanut one by one with chopsticks between bites slows down your eating and gives you a moment to savor the food.

Ingredients: Peanuts (from Chiba), sugar, honey, salt
Suggested uses: Enjoy as is with a cup of tea, pair as a side to flavorful fish dishes, or add as a topping on a rice.
Nutritional information: N/A

 BENIHUKU UDON

BENIHUKU UDON
(紅福うどん)
Producer: Kaneko Seimen
Prefecture: Kanagawa

These Benihuku (literally “red good luck”) udon noodles are a play off the quintessential celebratory Japanese rice dish called sekihan. Served on New Year’s and other special occasions, sekihan is a combination of steamed rice mixed with red azuki beans, where the red color symbolizes good luck. 

Our producer, Kaneko Seimen, has been hand crafting their noodles in the rural town of Nakai in Kanagawa prefecture since 1877. To make their unique celebratory udon, Kaneko Seimen kneads azuki beans from Tokachi prefecture directly into noodles made with flour from Hokkaido prefecture. The thin, string-like shape of the noodles resembles Awaji-musubi, a delicately woven knot found on holiday decorations and special gift envelopes in Japan. The knot is difficult to untie and tightens if you pull the ends, symbolizing a wish to stay together. 

Ingredients: Wheat flour, azuki (red beans), salt, purple sweet potato powder
Suggested uses: Add the noodles to 2-3L of boiling water. Boil for 5-6 mins. Drain and rinse under cold water. Sprinkle with black or white goma (sesame seeds) to complement the red bean flavor or serve it in the Flying Fish Broth diluted in hot water to make a hot noodle soup.
Nutritional information: N/A

 FLYING FISH BROTH 

FLYING FISH BROTH
(あごつゆ)
Producer: Nagasaki Goto Udon
Prefecture: Nagasaki

This concentrated Flying Fish Dipping Sauce from Nagasaki Goto Udon includes a special dashi (broth) which combines kelp and bonito flakes with a grilled flying fish known as tobiuo. These flying fish are called “toppy” by the locals and are a specialty of Kyushu. The fish have brilliant silver undersides, dark blue backs, and translucent wings. By wiggling their tails, the fish can seemingly “fly” above the water.

To make this Flying Fish Dipping Sauce, each fish is individually roasted over a charcoal fire, before being dried in the sun. This concentrates the umami flavors of this naturally low fat fish, resulting in a crisp and enhanced tasting dashi. 

Ingredients: Soy sauce (including wheat and soybeans, manufactured in Japan), mirin, sugar, salt, grilled flying fish powder, yeast extract, bonito flakes, kelp extract, fish and shellfish extract
Suggested uses: To make hot noodle soup, dilute 11 parts water to 1 whole package of broth. Try with the Benihiku Udon included in this Care Package. For simmering vegetables, dilute 9 parts water to 1 whole package of broth.
Nutritional information: N/A

SEVEN DRIED HERBS MIX 

SEVEN DRIED HERBS MIX
(乾燥七草)
Producer: Kodama Ikiiki Farm
Prefecture: Hiroshima

After indulging over New Year’s, many Japanese enjoy a simple bowl of nanakusa gayu (seven herb rice porridge) on January 7th to cleanse their bodies and give their stomachs a chance to reset. However, finding these seven traditional herbs fresh outside Japan is nearly impossible. This dried mixture from Kodama Ikiiki Farm allows you to taste these special herbs from the Japanese mountainside in your home.

Kodama Ikiiki Farm grows entirely organic products in the countryside of Fukuyama city in Hiroshima prefecture, an area known for its fresh agriculture. In addition to their commitment to producing high quality products, Kodama Ikiiki Farm works to create new and inventive ways for people to enjoy their local harvests. 

Ingredients: Daikon (radish) leaves (from Japan), salt, suzuna (turnip) leaves (from Hokkaido), hakobera (chickweed) (domestic), seri (water dropwort) (domestic), nazuna (shepherd’s purse) (from Hokkaido), hotokenoza (nipplewort) (from Hokkaido), gokyo (cudweed) (from Hokkaido)
Suggested uses: Add to miso soup, as a topping on egg dishes like omelettes and scrambled eggs, or in the Nanakusa Gayu (Seven Herb Rice Porridge) recipe included.
Nutritional information: N/A