Happy New Year, everyone!
In Japan, New Year is not just a party, it’s a very important festival of purification, renewal and ritual. In fact, New Year’s day (not eve) is one of the most important holidays in the festival calendar. It’s called Shogatsu and it heralds a week-long bacchanalia when lots of traditional banquet foods are served.
The traditional shogatsu dinner is called Osechi: it’s a huge amount of work which basically requires the whole family pitch in. In my house in Japan, my mother used to prepare it every year, with my two sisters and I as assistants. Traditionally, osechi must be served in three- or five-story lacquerware Bento boxes. The banner you see on the top of this blog is, in fact, of one of the osechi we prepared at my house in Japan a few years ago.
Not having lacquerware for Osechi and having a Venezuelan husband, this year we decided to do something East-West for our first shogatsu meal. We had Hallacas, the traditional Venezuelan Christmas food, which is similar to Mexican tamales and we made with his family a couple of weeks ago, and I made small but special little side dishes: Umaki (Japanese omelet with eel), Nuta (spring onions with sweet miso souce), and Ikura Mizore-ae (salmon roe with grated daikon). Mizore literally means sleet in Japanese.
Mizore-ae is very simple but it turns a beautiful dish for a special occasion.
- Salmon eggs
- Soy sauce
Grate the daikon and drain to discard the excess moisture. Mix it with Salmon eggs and shape a small mountain on a plate. Drop a little soy sauce on it and serve.
Typically, Mizore-ae is made with a vinegar-based sauce, but I think adding only soy sauce does wonders to salmon roe. Due to the Salmon eggs, this dish is a little expensive to make, but in about 60 seconds you can make a very fancy, holiday chopstick vacation this way.