Now it is the 2nd day of New Year. The first three days of New Year are called “shogatsu sanga-nichi” 正月三が日 or simply “Sanga-nichi”. These days are considered official New Year holidays in Japan. So, since we observe this custom in our household, we continued indulging in the good food from the Sushi Taro osechi. I served several assorted items by placing them in a small hexagonal “juubako” 重箱 container. Almost all except a few items are from the osechi box.
We also enjoyed head-on shrimp provided in the box. To make them fit on the plate and to make it easier to access the goodies in the head (mostly the liver), I separated the head from the tail. There is nothing delicate about this; the only way to enjoy is to pick it up and suck it out. The shrimp was large and had a nice sweet firm meat. It almost tasted like lobster. Wedges of Meyer lemon also added a bright flavor.
One of the tips to enjoying the osechi box fully is to heat up certain items before serving. Here I heated up the fish in the toaster oven and simmered vegetables in the microwave oven. Heating up these items really makes them more succulent and accentuates the flavor.
The items in the small blue bowl are hachling fish called “Jako arimani” じゃこの有馬煮. They had such a nice flavor (I like to put these on rice). The items in the center are “date maki” omelet and steamed ground white fish meat with matsutake mushroom or “Matsutake shinjo”松茸真蒸 .
This picture shows cod roe wrapped in kelp (bottom left), herring roe with butter fish underneath and white radish in koji 麹 or えぼ鯛麹漬け (top left). More about this in a later post. On the right in a small light blue bowl are black beans in syrup or “Kuromame” 黒豆 (again, a must-have for New Year).
These were really nice starters. At this point, we have consumed near 2/3 of the osechi goodies. We have to hurry up to finish it while it is still fresh. (Its a tough task but I think we are up to it.)