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How to Cook Japanese New Year's Food (A)

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JAPANESE TREND / Japanese Cooking (62) / Japanese Cooking (64)

Introduce Japanese New Year's Recipe.
This time introduce "Kobumaki - Kelp Rolls", "Kuromame - Simmered Black Beans", "Datemaki - Rolled Sweet Omelet" and "Kurikinton - Mashed Sweet Potato with Sweet Chestnuts".
Please try them. You will be able to enjoy Japanese Cooking.

Typical New Year's Food in Japan.

a) Kobumaki

(Kobumaki / Image)

Kobumaki is a Japanese kelp roll, which is one of Japanese New Year's food. The fillings in kobumaki can be gobo burdock if you would like.


  • 1 1/2 oz. dried kombu (kelp) (8 five-inch-long dried kombu)
  • 3/4 lb. salmon
  • 8 strips (10 inch long/strip) dried kanpyo
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup soysauce
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp sake
  • 4 Tbsp mirin


Soak konbu in 4 cups of water for 10 minutes.
Save this water.
Rub a pinch of salt on kanpyo and wash them.
Soak kanpyo in water for 15 minutes.
Cut salmon into about 5 inch long strips.
Put a salmon strip on top of a sheet of konbu and roll it. Tie the konbu roll by strips of kanpyo.
Place kombu rolls in medium pot.
Pour the water used for soaking the kombu over the kombu rolls.
Bring it to a boil.
Turn down the heat to low, and add sugar, sake, mirin, and soysauce.
Simmer for about one hour.
Turn off the heat.
Let kelp rolls cool in the pot. Remove them from the pot and cut in halves.

*Makes 4 servings

b) Kuromame

(Kuromame / Image)

Kuromame are black soybeans in Japanese, and they are typically simmered in Japanese cooking. Since the Japanese word for beans, mame, also means "working like a bee", it's traditional for Japanese people to eat kuromame on New Year's holidays, hoping for being able to work in good health.
*It's preferable to simmer kuromame in iron pot or add rusty nails to blacken the color of the beans.

  • 1 cup black soy beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • *optional: a couple of rusty nails and a sheet of gauze


Wash black beans.
Put water, sugar, salt, soysauce, and baking soda in large deep pot or iron pot.
Bring to a boil.
Stop the heat and add black beans. Leave it over night, or about 8 hours.
Clean a couple of rusty nails, and wrap them by gauze.
Add it in the pot.
Put the pot on high heat and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat to low. Skim off any foam that rise to the surface.
Cover the pot and simmer the beans on low heat for about 5 hours, or until beans are softened.
When the liquid decreases, add some water.
Stop the heat and let it sit until cool.

*Makes 4 servings

c) Datemaki Recipe

(Datemaki / Image)

Datemaki is a Japanese sweet rolled omelet. It's one of Japanese New Year's food.

*Makes 8 servings

  • 8 eggs
  • 4 oz. hanpen (white fish cake), chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. dashi soup stock
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


Preheat the oven in 375 degrees F.
Beat eggs in bowl. Put eggs, chopped hanpen, , sugar, mirin, salt in blender.
Process until smooth.
Put a baking sheet in a rectangular baking pan.
Pour the egg mixture in the pan.
Cook it in the oven for 15 minutes.
Put the omelet on top of a bamboo mat while it's still warm.
Remove the baking sheet.
Roll the omelet with the bamboo mat.
Leave it until cools.
Remove the bamboo mat and cut the omelet into 1/2 inch thick slices.

d) Kuri Kinton Recipe

(Kuri kinton / Image)

Kuri kinton is mashed sweet potato with sweet chestnuts (kuri). It's one of Japanese New Year's food (osechi). Its golden yellow color symbolizes prosperity.

  • 1 lb. satsumaimo (sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into 1 inch thick slices
  • 1 jar of simmered sweet chestnuts in syrup (8-12 pieces of chestnuts)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp mirin
  • 2 kuchinashi-no-mi (Cape jasmine seeds)


Soak satsumaimo slices in water for about 15 minutes and drain.
Wrap crushed kuchinashi-no-mi in a sheet of gauze.
Put water, satsumaimo, and kuchinashi-no-mi in a deep pot and bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat to medium and simmer until satsumaimo is softened.
Drain and remove kushinashi-no-mi.
Mash satsumaimo and add 3/4 cup of sugar and mix well.
Strain the mashed satsumaimo and put it back in the pot.
Add 3/4 cup of sugar, mirin, 1/4 cup of syrup in the mashed satsumaimo.
Stir well on low heat until smooth.
Add chestnuts and simmer for a few minutes.

By J.S. on Jan 3, 2009



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