A national food that is eaten on New Year's Day and is cooked with mochi. Great differences can be seen depending on the region. Zoni is a traditional soup dish of rice cake and other ingredients, and families gather to have them during the New years for a blessed year.
Although they are simple, techniques used in preparing zoni are profoundGiven that zoni is entrenched as the taste of the household, it is a dish that generally is perceived to not require any special techniques. However, those provided in Japanese restaurants utilize subtle techniques, such as the manners in obtaining the dashi soup stock and in preparing the ingredients.
Differences in regional cultures are deeply reflected in each household.The differences in zoni are frequently used as an example that indicates the differences in the eating habits of different Japanese regions. If you go visit different regions, you will definitely encounter different types of zoni. This section will describe different types of zoni.
Kyoto-style zoni adds ingredients such as uncooked circular mochi, Japanese red Kintoki carrot and mother tuber in a light-brown miso soup (Kyoto prefecture).
With plenty of ingredients added
1. Hakata zoni
Several ingredients, such as Japanese amberjack, katsuona leaves, carrots, taro and boiled fish paste are added. It is a luxurious zoni (Hakata refers to the regions around Hakata-ward, Fukuoka, which is the central region of Fukuoka prefecture). Furthermore, the tradition of using a set of special chopsticks called Kurihaibashi, made by shaving the branches of chestnut (kuri) trees to eat zoni still remains s in the Hakata region.
2. Sendai zoni
Zoni prepared by using plenty of seafood such as goby, salmon roe, and mountain vegetables, such as daikon radish, carrots and burdock (Sendai is a region around Sendai City, Miyagi prefecture, located in the center of the Tohoku region).
1. Kaga zoni
A simple zoni eaten without any other ingredients except maru mochi (mochi shaped into a circle; Kaga refers to a region that used to be the former Kaga domain, located next to what is currently Ishikawa prefecture).
2. Aichi zoni
A zoni prepared by adding rectangular mochi and mochina vegetables into sumashi-jiru (made with soy sauce and dried bonito shavings), then simmered for a couple of minutes before serving. Topped with dried bonito shavings (Aichi prefecture).
1. Anmochi zoni
Anmochi zoni is prepared by adding circular anmochi (mochi with azuki beans stewed with sugar in the inside) in a light-brown miso soup (Kagawa prefecture).
2. Kinako zoni
Eaten by adding mochi with kinako (soybean powder) and sugar (Nara prefecture).
3. Azuki zoni
Prepared by putting circular mochi in a soup containing azuki beans stewed with sugar (Tottori prefecture).