During the recent heavy snowfall, a neighbor gave me these Rakugans from a Japanese confectionary shop in Nagano Prefecture. It is a 100-year old traditional snack made of powdered peas, sugar and water. This Japanese sweets shop is located in Obuse, Nagano Prefecture, and is famous for its chestnut confections! Obuse is jam-packed in the fall! They look like sweet crackers! Glad my sister and mom shoveled the snow so we could get some yummy treats!
On January 7th, people in Japan eat Nanakusa-gayu (Seven Herbs Rice Porridge). To give our stomachs a break from the heavy New Year's meals, we make porridge with grass and rice that we pick up on the night of the 6th. By eating this, we pray for good health for the whole year. However, in 2022, it was snowing heavily in my area and I couldn't get the seven herbs. In the first place, though, the seven plants don't grow there. I guess it won't grow back until February or so.
On New Year's Day in Kagawa Prefecture, Shikoku, red bean paste mochi is added to ozoni. It was created in response to people's desire to eat something sweet at least on New Year's Day. Miso soup with white miso paste and carrots, and rice cakes filled with red bean paste. The bean paste cake is also made hard, probably to prevent it from falling apart. I couldn't muster up the courage, so I baked some red bean paste cakes!
My mother made Matsumae pickles today. Matsumae zuke is a local Hokkaido dish made with kombu seaweed and surume squid. It is also served as a New Year's dish in Hokkaido because it is a preserved food for the cold winter. Soak thinly sliced kelp and squid in water, then marinate in a sauce made of soy sauce (gluten-free), dried bonito flakes, sugar, vinegar and dashi powder. I don't know the amount of seasoning. Because my mother made it. It was a delicious pickle to go with rice!
I received some moringa powder from a friend for Christmas. Moringa is a plant that originated in Northern India and is said to have many nutrients. Today I used this moringa powder to make a cake in my rice cooker!
Asahi-machi in Yamagata Prefecture in Tohoku is famous for its apples. I bought some tochi rice cakes there today. Tochi (Japanese horse chestnut) is difficult to remove the scum from, but it tastes like chestnuts.