Zōni (雑煮) is a Japanese soup containing mochi rice cakes.
As for ways of cooking the soup, different regions in Japan sport many variations. A clear soup (sumashi-jiru) flavoured with dashi (stock usually made from flakes of dried bonito) and soy sauce is generally preferred in Tokyo. As a rule of thumb, mochi is cut into a rectangle.
Common additions to the soup include chicken, fish or meatballs; leafy vegetables such as komatsuna or spinach; mitsuba (a Japanese herb similar to parsley); kamaboko such as naruto and carrot flakes for colour; and flakes of yuzu peel for its citrus fragrance. Regional specialties are often added. A sprinkle of seven-spice chili flakes (shichimi) is sometimes added at the table.
Zōni is thought to be a meal that was cooked during field battles, boiled together with mochi, vegetables and dried foods, among other ingredients. It is said that zōni finds its roots in samurai society cuisine.
The dish is strongly associated with the Japanese New Year and its tradition of osechi ceremonial foods and tends to be eaten on 3 consecutive days.
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