Vegan Ozoni (Japanese New Year's Soup With Rice Cake)

Vegan Ozoni (Japanese New Year's Soup With Rice Cake)

The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
29 Calories
1g Fat
5g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 29
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 688mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 6mg 31%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 0mg 3%
Potassium 97mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Many dishes in Japanese cuisine can easily be made vegan, as is the case for this traditional Japanese New Year's soup, known as zoni, also called ozoni (honorific term). Ozoni is a soup consisting of vegetables and mochi (rice cake) and may include chicken, fish, seafood, or kamaboko (fish cake) in non-vegan versions. Traditionally, the soup is enjoyed for breakfast, or as the first meal of the day.

 

Ingredients

  • 16 cups water

  • 1 large piece of dried kelp (dashi konbu)​

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dried kelp (konbu) dashi powder 

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, to taste

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 3/4 cup Japanese daikon, thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 cups mizuna, both leaves and stem

  • 1 piece mochi (at least 1 per person)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vegan Ozoni (Japanese New Year's Soup With Rice Cake) ingredients

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  2. In a large stock pot, add large piece of dried dashi konbu and water and steep for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

    dried dashi konbu and water in a pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  3. Bring the konbu and water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium.

     konbu and water cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  4. Add dried konbu dashi powder and soy sauce to taste. Simmer for a few minutes.

    dried konbu dashi powder and soy sauce added to the pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  5. Add sliced carrots and daikon. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

    sliced carrots and daikon added to the pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  6. Remove large piece of dried dashi konbu. Reduce heat to low. Add salt to taste.

    dried dashi konbu removed from the pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  7. Just before ozoni is ready to be served, add a handful of mizuna leaves, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until just tender.

    mizuna leaves added to the pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  8. If using fresh mochi, add it to soup and cook for about 1 minute until the mochi is soft and pliable. If using frozen mochi, cook with a small amount of water in microwave for 15 seconds or until tender. Then add to soup and cook for 1 minute.

    mochi added to the pot with the soup

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  9. Transfer to an individual soup bowl and ladle vegetables and broth over it. Serve immediately.

    Vegan Ozoni (Japanese New Year's Soup With Rice Cake) in bowls

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Tips

  • Each family's ozoni soup differs slightly from the next, so feel free to incorporate other vegetables such as shiitake mushrooms, lotus root (renkon), spinach, etc. Similarly, adjust the amount of dried konbu (kelp) dashi powder seasoning, soy sauce (shoyu), and salt to suit your taste.

Ozoni: a Unique Delicacy

Depending on the region of Japan, the base for ozoni soup, as well as the ingredients differ. For example, the soup base might be miso (fermented soybean) based, clear dashi (bonito or kelp) based or even chicken stock-based. Similarly, depending on the region, and family traditions, the types of vegetables included in the soup also differ.

What makes ozoni unique from other soups is that one of the primary ingredients is a large piece of mochi or rice cake. Each serving of ozoni includes one piece of soft and chewy mochi.

As the end of the year approaches, some families make mochi at home, a tradition known as “mochi tsuki.” While homemade mochi is a wonderful treat, you’ll find that many Japanese supermarkets sell pre-made, fresh mochi. Fresh mochi may be stored in the freezer, then defrosted and either warmed in the microwave or toasted in a toaster oven.​