with Elizabeth Andoh

” ‘Tis the season to be jolly…” and also to eat well.

The Japanese tend to out-­do themselves with Osechi Ryori (New Year’s Food) at this time of year and there’s no reason why some of the tastier goodies couldn’t be enjoyed Western-style with a roast, poultry or baked ham.

The following two recipes may seem a bit time con­suming but don’t be discouraged. Advance prepara­tion and preservation can mean delicious eating throughout the holiday sea­son.

KINKAN NO KANRO NI (Kumquats in sweet syrup)


  • bunch fresh kinkan (about 25-30)
  • water, to cover
  • 2 teaspoons sake
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water


1. Wash and pat dry the kinkan, discarding any leaves or stems.

2. Make vertical slits (about 3-4 for each) in the fruit and remove the pits with a toothpick trying to preserve the original round shape.

3. Put the kinkan in a saucepan with water to cover and add the sake.

4. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat and simmer the fruit for 10-15 minutes or until they are tender. Drain the kinkan, discarding the cooking liquid.

5. In a separate saucepan make a syrup from the sugar and 3/4 cup water. Add the cooked kinkan to the syrup and simmer until the syrup has been reduced by half and the fruit is well glazed.

6. Let the fruit cool to room temperature in the syrup. Remove the kinkan from the syrup before serv­ing chilled or at room temperature.

7. Covered and refrigerat­ed kinkan no kanro ni will keep for about 10 days; if sealed in Mason-type jars they will keep much longer.


Kinkan are kumquat-like fruit, round and bright yel­low-gold.

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KURO MAME (sweet black beans)


  • 3/4  cup  kuro mame
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon shoyu


1. In a saucepan, soak the kuro mame overnight in the water, to which the salt has been added. Discard any beans that float to the top or appear worm-eaten.

2. Bring the water to a boil and skim the froth from the surface. Reduce the heat and let the beans simmer, adding more water if necessary to keep them covered, for 3-4 hours or until tender.

3. Stir in the sugar, then add the shoyu. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Let the beans soak in the syrup for at least eight hours before draining them. Reserve the syrup.

4. In a small saucepan, reduce the reserved syrup by half over high heat. Pour the reduced syrup over the beans and serve chilled or at room temperature (thread five beans on each of many toothpicks and serve them as sweet hors d’ouerves or decorations on a platter).

5. Covered in the refrigerator (or seal in Mason-type jars) they will keep several weeks.


Kuro mame are black beans.