Baby event "Okuizome" and "Taimeshi" Sea Bream Rice: Celebrating the First Solid Food for the New Born

Japanese people hold a custom "okuizome" to celebrate the 100th day of the baby's birth. 
Okuizome signifies the baby's growth to introduce solid food. It involves a full dinning menu consisting of fish (usually sea bream), rice with red bean, clam soup, some veggies. In particular in okuizome, it also involves pieces of stone known as "hagatme" as it represents the strong teeth. 
Of course new born baby cannot eat these foods at this stage. 
The adult mimics feeding by carrying pieces of food and the stone to the baby's mouth.

Though belated for the 100th day, given the opportunity to hold okuizome together with my parents visited from Japan. I decided to make Taimeshi, Sea Bream Rice.
Sea bream represents happiness in Japanese food culture
The Japanese dinning setting is: rice (on the lower left, soup (lower right), main (usually in the middle), pickles (on the right above).

Decorating the head of the sea bream is a metaphor for the success: taking the head and getting to the top.
The top middle is the hagatame stones given from a shrine.

Ingredients of Taimeshi for 4-5 people:

  • One medium sized fresh sea bream
  • 540cc of rice
  • 760cc of cold water
  • One tablespoon of sake
  • One tablespoon of mirin
  • One tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1/2 teasoon of salt

Directions

1. Scale and slice the sea bream into three layers. I removed the head. Remove the bone throughly.

2. Grill all pieces of sea bream in oven at 200c for 20 mints or until the skin gets nice brown. This process helps to remove the extra grease as well as the fishy smell.

3. Put the rice, water and the seasonings in a large pan and place the sea bream pieces on the top. Close the pan with the lid and cook at the strong frame till it sounds boiling. Then turn the heat into small. Leave it for 15-20 mints.

4. Put the head of sea bream aside then crumb the fish meat to mix the rice throughly. Serve the rice with chopped spring onion on the top.




Total time to prepare: 1 hour (including slicing the fish and removing out the bone)
Total cost: around 10 pounds (8.6 for sea bream)

In Japan, there are numbers of events to cerebrate children's growth annually as well as in certain stages apart from their birthday. These customs have been practiced since old time. I presume that it was backed by the fact that at that time, infant mortality rate was very high. Albeit that the rate is very low in present, people still practice these customs. I think it is good.

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