about food and Plates of Art
This is a traditional Japanese soup that has mochi in it often eaten on New Years with other traditional Japanese foods, osechi.
Let me explain first about mochi. I think most people associate mochi with something sweet, i.e. mochi ice cream, but actually, they are not always sweet. Mochi is simply rice cake made with glutinous rice often in square or round shaped, so no sugar added (and ice cream is separate). You put glutinous rice in this huuuge bowl and then pound it until it becomes sticky, or you use a machine for more efficient and modern way. Mochi is served savory, for example with soy sauce, or sweet with sugar (you dip mochi in sugar), or at my house, we like combining sugar and soy sauce that makes a great dip for the mochi.
We all know about mochi ice cream, and there’s also mochi that has red beans in side called daifuku, and strawberry versions are also available. Dango is Japanese dumpling that just has round mochi on a stick. Mochi can have flavor, for example, green ones are yomogi (a type of green plant) flavored, and sakura or cherry blossom flavors are also popular in the spring.
*You can find my post on dango here: http://tkaroundtheworld.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/dango/
Going back to ozouni, this soup has a clear color (from bonito flake dashi/broth) in eastern Japan and red (from miso) in western Japan. Each household has different ingredients in the soup, but my grandma made one with chicken, snap peas, ofu (soft gluten), mushroom, and garland chrysanthemum. It’s a very pretty soup and makes me calm.