In Japan, like many other parts of the world, Mother’s Day is a national celebration. However, looking past the red carnations, feng shui happiness cats, silk handkerchiefs and fragrance cards there is a more homely side to Mother’s Day – and it all centres around food…
Mothers are celebrated for their home cooking in Japan. The memory and uniqueness of one’s own mother’s food is encapsulated in the term ‘ofukuro-no-aji’ or ‘that unforgettable taste of one's own mother’s cooking.’ Mother’s Day, or Haha No Hi as it is known in Japanese, is an important time of the year for appreciating mothers and their cooking. Some families celebrate Mother’s Day by preparing symbolic dishes centred around eggs - many of the recipes are in Reiko Hashimoto's book Hashi.
A chicken and egg rice dish which literally translates as ‘parent-and-child-donburi’. Chicken thigh is simmered in a stock in a donabe cooking pot. Then beaten egg is poured into the simmering liquid. Once the egg has cooked, the dish is spooned over rice and garnished with spring onions, pickled ginger and ground sansho pepper.
A multi-layered omelette roll made from eggs, mirin, instant dashi powder, soy sauce and a little sugar. The omelette is cooked in a tamagoyaki pan to create an even, layered omelette. It is then pressed using a sushi mat, and sliced and used to top sushi. It can also be enjoyed on its own with fillings such as smoked eel and shiitake mushroom - a popular lunch box snack.
To discover more of Japan's flavours, check out Koji rice for shiokoji. Possibly the most important ingredient in Japanese cuisine!