Hope to gain the strength of the rice divinities

One of the traditional foods served during shōgatsu(Japanese New Year) is Mochi. Traditionally, neighbors would get together to make the Mochi. It is made of glutinous rice pounded into a paste and formed into shape. The traditional ceremony of pounding Mochi is called MochitsukiThe big lump will be divided up into round pieces or squares. Some popular ways of eating Mochi are: coating it with anko (a bean paste made of boiled and sweetened beans), kinako (a sweet powder made of roasted soybeans) and dipping it in soy sauce and wrapping it with nori (dried seaweed). By eating Mochi, believers hope to gain the strength of the rice divinities.

Photo: n9nlinar

Photo: n9nlinar

Ozoni (Japanese rice cake soup) is a Japanese tradition to eat on New Year’s holiday. Ingredients for zoni vary region to region. Basically, zoni is seasoned with soy sauce in eastern Japan, and it’s seasoned with shiromiso (white miso) in western Japan.

Prep Time: 15 min.   Cooking Time: 30 min.      Servings: 4 Ingredients:
4 cups dashi soup stock
4 blocks mochi (rice cake)
1/4 lb. boneless chicken thighs
2 inches carrot, cut into thin
4 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed.
3 inches negi (scallion), rinsed and diagonally sliced
1/4 lb. fresh spinach, boiled and cut into 2 inches
4 slices kamaboko (fish cakes)
1 tbsp soysauce

1. Peel the carrot and use the food cutter to create flowers.
2. The top of the shiitake mushroom cap, creating a star pattern.
3. In a large pot, bring the water, dashi and chicken stock to a boil.
4. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.
5. Add the carrots, green onion and shiitake mushrooms into the pot. Turn down the heat to low. Add soy sauce in the soup. Simmer for a few minutes.
6. Grill mochi in the oven until softened.
7. Add grilled mochi, kamaboko, and negi slices in the soup.


Recipe of Month

Chirashi Sushi

Towards the end of summer, I was invited to a Sunday brunch at Mrs. Nishimori's house. The table was full of pickeled vegetables, napa cabbage, cucumber, radish, carrots, myoga and so on. However, a highlight was homemade Chirashi Sushi which means "Sacttered Sushi". Each home in Japan serves different ingredients and toppings that reflect the regional area of Japan where they are from. It is one of the most popular household meals in Japan. Her Chirashi Sushi was more festive with colorful ingredients: Yellow, Red, Orange, Green, Brown, White and Seafood.. 

Ingredients (serving for 2-3)
2 Japanese rice cups (=360ml) short grain premium Japanese rice
Sliced vinegar-pickled mackerel
Cooked salmon & shrimp
Shredded egg crepe garnish
Extra ingredients (Sliced shiitake, thin cut Carrot, Braised burdock root) 
Ikura (salmon roe)
Handful of blanched snow peas
Soy sauce, Sugar, Salt, Sushi vinegar, Cooking Sake,

1. Cook the rice until al dente
2. Mixing extra ingredients with soy sauce, cooking sake, Mirin and sugar; simmer on low heat until the liquid is evaporated. Set aside.
3. Place warm cooked rice in a large bowl and sprinkle the Sushi vinegar. Using a rice spatula and separate the rice grains quickly.
4. Add all the Ingredients in rice bowl and mix them together.
5. Place Ikura (salmon roe) & blanched snow peas before it serves.

Mako Nishimoshi was trained as a sculpture artist in Kōchi, Japan and has built a passion for ceramics for more the 40 years in New York City. She has been awarded numerous ceramic compositions and selected for exhibitions around New York City. She also holds the position of Director of Ceramic Artist Friendship Association and coordinate the annual Tokyo-New York Friendship Ceramic International Completion.

Mrs. Nishimori moved to New York City the early 1970's with Mr. Nishimori, where they had started a Japanese restaurant. They believed food and art should compliment one another. Thus, they opened NY Togei Kyoshitsu in 1994. Togei Kyoshitsu offers classes using traditional artistes that are still used in studios across Japan bringing the same aesthetics taught in Japan to New York.