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What is Ozoni?
Ozoni (お雑煮) is a traditional Japanese dish unique to the New Year’s holiday. Family members typically eat it during the New Year’s celebration. The dish is essentially a soup made with dashi, along with vegetables, mochi (rice cake), and chicken or other types of protein.
One of the distinctive characteristics of ozoni is that each region in Japan has its own unique version of the dish. This makes it one of the most regionally distinct dishes in Japanese cuisine.
For instance, I was born and raised in the Nagoya area, and I have eaten Ozoni prepared in a way that is similar to the recipe introduced here. However, if you go to other prefectures, you will find that Ozoni is prepared in a completely different way.
For example, I was surprised to learn that different regions have their own unique version, such as:
- Ozoni with salmon roe (Iwate and Miyagi prefectures)
- Ozoni with white miso (Kyoto Prefecture)
- Ozoni with azuki beans (Tottori Prefecture)
In my opinion, this is what makes Japanese cuisine so interesting. The regional characteristics are strongly expressed in the cuisine.
How I Developed This Recipe
Being born and raised in the Nagoya area, I’ve enjoyed Nagoya-style Ozoni for most of my life. It’s a dish close to my heart, and through this recipe, I aim to share the authentic taste of Nagoya’s Ozoni as it’s been enjoyed in my community.
Nagoya’s Ozoni is often described as “the simplest in Japan,” but I believe this simplicity makes it so special. It’s a humble dish, focusing on the purity and quality of its ingredients rather than complexity or extravagance.
Try Nagoya’s unique Ozoni recipe created by a native, you probably won’t find this one on other websites or cookbooks!
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas
- Kirimochi (Cut Rice Cakes): Square rice cakes like Sato no Kirimochi are commonly used in Nagoya for ozoni.
- Komatsuna (Japanese Mustard Spinach): Regular spinach or similar greens can be substituted.
- Dried Bonito Flakes (Katsuobushi): Sprinkle as a topping for added flavor.
- Chicken Thighs: Can be substituted with chicken breasts as per your preference.
- Dashi Broth: Choose from my favorite dashi, simple awase dashi, plant-based dashi. You can opt for instant granules or dashi packets for a quick option. This is the essence of your soup.
- Soy Sauce: Kikkoman soy sauce is a reliable and affordable choice. For more information, check out my comprehensive soy sauce guide.
- Mirin: Opt for “hon mirin” (本みりん) like Hinode Hon Mirin for genuine flavor. Consult my Mirin 101 post for further insights.
- Kamaboko (Japanese Fish Cake): It is optional but adds a nice color to the dish.
Curious about the exact brands and products that bring my recipes to life? Discover the brands and ingredients behind my recipes at the Sudachi Amazon Storefront. Explore my handpicked pantry essentials and find your next kitchen favorites!Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
Visual Walkthrough & Tips
Here are my step-by-step instructions for how to make Nagoya-style Ozoni at home. For ingredient quantities and simplified instructions, scroll down for the Printable Recipe Card below.
Start by sprinkling a bit of salt over the chicken pieces, ensuring they’re bite-sized for even cooking.
Heat them in a frying pan, turning until golden brown and cooked through. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside.
While the chicken cooks, wash and chop the komatsuna into 4 cm (about 1.5 inches) lengths. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add the greens.
Let them boil for 30 seconds, then drain and cool in cold water. Squeeze out the excess liquid once cool. This method keeps the komatsuna crisp and vibrant.
Next, add dashi stock, mirin, and rice cakes to the pot, simmering over medium-low heat until the rice cakes are tender on the outside. This slow simmer allows the flavors to blend and deepen.
When the rice cakes are soft, stir in soy sauce and add the cooked chicken. Let everything simmer for about one minute to allow the flavors to meld together.
Finally, ladle the soup into bowls. Top with bonito flakes, the prepared komatsuna, and slices of kamaboko. This combination of toppings adds a nice complexity to each bite.Jump to Full Recipe Measurements
How to Store
It is recommended to refrigerate Ozoni if you have leftovers. By doing so, you can enjoy it for about 2 to 3 days while it remains delicious.
However, it is advisable to consume all the ingredients and store only the soup in its original state. This way, the next time you want to eat it, you can simply cook the ingredients and add them to the soup to enjoy delicious Ozoni again.
If you want to store Ozoni for a longer period, you can freeze it in individual portions, which will last for about two weeks.
Ozoni is a traditional Japanese dish believed to have been eaten since the Heian period (794-1185). Rice cakes were traditionally a festive dish for the Japanese back then, consumed on “Hare no Hi” (celebration days). The origin of the dish is believed that ingredients for Ozoni like taro, mochi, carrots, and daikon radish were simmered with fresh early-year water and the New Year’s first fire, then enjoyed on New Year’s Day.
It is believed that the tradition of eating Ozoni, a soup made with rice cakes and vegetables, originated to welcome the “New Year God (年神様),” who visits during the New Year holiday, using the rice cakes and vegetables offered at Omisoka (New Year’s Eve).
I hope you enjoy this Nagoya-style Ozoni recipe! If you try it out, I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a moment to let me know what you thought by giving a review and star rating in the comments below. It’s also helpful to share any adjustments you made to the recipe with our other readers. Thank you!
More Japanese Soup Recipes
- Chicken Miso Soup (Torijiru)
- Japanese Clear Soup (Osuimono)
- Corn Potage (Japanese Corn Soup)
- Kenchin Jiru (Traditional Japanese Vegetable Soup)
Want more inspiration? Explore my Japanese Soup Roundup Post for a carefully selected collection of tasty recipe ideas to spark your next meal!
Nagoya Style Ozoni (New Year’s Soup with Mochi)
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 50 g chicken thigh (or breast) cut into small bitesize pieces
- 100 g Japanese mustard spinach (komatsuna) cut into 4cm (1.5") pieces
- 2 pieces square shaped rice cakes (kirimochi)
- 400 ml dashi stock
- ½ tsp mirin
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 4 slices Japanese fish cake "kamaboko"
- 2 tbsp bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
- Heat a frying pan on medium and add 1 tsp cooking oil. Add 50 g chicken thigh to the pan and season with 1 pinch salt. Fry until cooked through and then remove from the heat.
- While the chicken is cooking, bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil and sprinkle with salt. Add 100 g Japanese mustard spinach and boil for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, transfer to a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside for later.
- In a separate pot, add 400 ml dashi stock, ½ tsp mirin and 2 pieces square shaped rice cakes. Simmer over a low heat until mochi is soft on the outside.
- Once the mochi is softened, add 2 tsp soy sauce along with the cooked chicken from earlier and simmer for about 1 minute.
- Divide the soup into bowls. Squeeze the water out of the Japanese mustard spinach thoroughly and then place it on top of the soup along with 2 slices of kamaboko fish cake and 1 tbsp of bonito flakes per portion.