Our Family's Zouni - Regional Recipe from Yame, Fukuoka

Our Family's Zouni - Regional Recipe from Yame, Fukuoka

Our family's o-zouni (mochi rice cake soup) is packed with ingredients. It's a delicious zouni with surume dried squid, konbu seaweed, dried shiitake mushrooms, chicken, and root vegetables plus round mochi cakes. It's a recipe I want to leave for future generations.

Ingredients: 7 to 8 bowls full

Surume - dried squid (body)
15 cm length
Dried shiitake mushrooms (small ones)
Chicken breast meat (cut into 2-3 cm dice)
200 g
Burdock root
Lotus root (small)
1 section (about 100 g)
Kintoki carrots (dark orange carrots)
Satoimo (taro root)
to taste
Bonito based dashi stock
600 ml
50 ml
Soy sauce
2 teaspoons
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
Round mochi - 1 per serving


1. Cut the surume and the konbu seaweed into 1.5 cm squares, and soak to rehydrate in 400 ml of water overnight in the refrigerator. Re-hydrate the dried shiitake mushrooms also in 200 ml of water overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Cut the stems off the dried mushrooms. Slice the burdock root into 0.7 mm thick diagonal slices. Peel the lotus root and slice into 0.7mm thick rounds. Cut the kintoki carrot and satoimo into 1 cm thick slices.
3. Put the bonito dashi stock, 50 ml sake, soaking liquid from the surume, konbu seaweed, dried shiitake mushrooms, sliced shiitake, burdock root, and lotus root into a pot and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil add the chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes while skimming off the scum.
4. Add the carrots and satoimo to hte soup. When it comes back to a boil add the soy sauce and salt. Simmer until the carrot and satoimo are tender.
5. When the carrot and satoimo are tender, add one round mochi cake per person. When the mochi is tender it's done.
6. Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with mitsuba.
7. Use small vegetables and slice them into rounds. The round shapes in an o-zouni soup stand for "rounded and harmonious," apparently. If the vegetables are too big, you'd have to cut them into half-moon shapes, which wouldn't mean the same.
8. The flavoring ingredients are based on an amount of bonito dashi stock + soaking liquid totaling 1200 ml . I used dark soy sauce, so I added salt so the soup wouldn't turn too dark.

Story Behind this Recipe

This recipe, taught to me by my mother-in-law, is from her hometown of Yame in Fukuoka prefecture. I've been making this ever since I got married, wherever we've lived, every year for New Year's when the whole family has o-zouni. Adding bonito dashi stock is my variation. I make two meals worth at a time.