Cooking Osechi for New Year!

I'm preparing for New Year's Eve!

Today I cleaned my room and arranged New Year's decorations in my room.

Mini-Shimekazari on my window. It should ward off evil spirits.

 Mini-Kadomatsu. It should bring longevity and also protects the home.

And my mini-Kagami-mochi^^ Little rice cakes, eaten on january 11th.

But the most important thing for me today was preparing Osechi!

Osechi are traditional New Year's foods. 
The foods are all symbolic for luck, longevity, children's health etc. 
In old times, it was believed that cooking during the first days of the new year would cause bad luck, so people cooked a lot of food before New Year's Eve and ate it during the first days of the new year.

Pics from tumblr

Today people just cook it like real food. Many people also don't cook it by hand as it's difficult but buy it or order beautiful and expensive Osechi boxes.

I always wanted to celebrate japanese New Year with all the food and decorations and stuff^^ 
And so I decided to also prepare Osechi.
I will not cook everything on my own, I bought some typical things like Kuri-sweets, fishes and soy beans but I will also cook a few things on my own^^

Today I made Iridori and boiled konyaku.

 So what you need for Iridori~ I'll post the original recipe, I used the double amount of ingredients^^

1. 3 Taro potatoes
2. 120 g Renkon (Lotus root)
3. 50 g carrot
4. 50 g Konyau
5. 1 Gobou (Burdock root)
6. 50 g Takenoko (Bamboo sprouts)
7. 2 Shiitake

1 tsp Sesame oil
300 cc Dashi

1 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Mirin
2 tbsp Sake
2 tbsp Soy Sauce

1. Cut Konyaku into bite-sized pieces

2. Blanch in boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes.

3. Peel, wash and cut Taro into bite-sized pieces.

4. Wash Renkon, peel and cut. You can make nice shapes of the renkon. I tried it but it doesn't look so good (-.-;)

5. Wash and peel burdock and cut into stripes. Rinse under running water to reduce the bitterness.

6. Wash and cut Shiitake

7. First, heat Sesame oil in a pot and sauté lotus and Gobo for 1 minute.

8. Add all the other ingredients.

9. Sauté everything for 2 minutes.

10. Add dashi and other sauce ingredients, put the lid on and cook for 5-8 minutes. 

11. Afterwards put the heat off and let it cool down on the stove for 30 minutes with lid on.

12. Then, drain and keep the broth.

13.  Put the broth back into the pot and thicken it by boiling for 2 minutes.

14. Put the vegetables back in the broth, mix and put out again. 
Store the Iridori in a box and store in the fridge^^

Very easy and nice Konyaku recipe^^

You need: 
- 1 piece Konyaku
  - 200 cc Dashi
- 1 1/2 tbsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Mirin
- 2 tbsp Sake

1. Cut 2-3 cm thick layers of Konyaku and cut the middle.

2. Put one end through the hole and you get this nice shape^^

All the Konyaku (*v*)

3. Add Dashi, sugar, Mirin and Sake in a pot and bring to boil.
Add the Konyaku and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. 

Let them cool down and store them in a box and in the fridge^^

Tomorrow I will prepare the last foods and prepare my osechi-boxes for New Year's day.

We will eat Toshi-koshi-soba tomorrow evening and go to Atsuta-shrine afterwards. I'm excited :D

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