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Japanese New Year's one-pot meal. Dashi, soy sauce, mochi (packed rice cake), and chicken are fundamental ingredients. Add your own choice of vegetables. This a very simple and delicious hearty one pot meal that'll feed 4.
- 4 tablespoons dashi powder or 1⁄2 cup dried kelp
- 400 g chicken breasts or 400 g chicken thighs
- 1 large daikon radishes or 2 large turnips
- 1 Chinese cabbage
- 2 large leeks
- 2 medium carrots
- 1⁄4 cup fresh trefoil (mitsuba) or 1⁄4 cup fresh coriander leaves
- 15 snow peas
- 8 halved dried shiitake mushrooms
- 8 mochi rice cakes
- 3⁄4 cup soy sauce
- Soak shiitake in a bowl of lukewarm water.
- Chop daikon and chinese cabbage in 3 inch pieces.
- Cut leeks in 2 inch diagonal pieces.
- Cut carrots thinly in 2 inch long diagonal pieces.
- Roughly chop mitsuba leaves.
- Top and tail snow peas.
- Cut chicken into 2 inch pieces.
- In a large pan, boil 10 cups or so of water.
- Add dashi (unless you have dried kelp, in which case boil the kelp to make dashi manually, then remove after 5 mins).
- Add shiitake and the water in which they were soaking.
- Add vegetables that take longer to cook first: daikon, radish.
- Proceed to add the rest of the vegetables and chicken, leaving peas and mitsuba till last minute so they don't lose their colour.
- After 15 minutes or so, add mochi and soy sauce.
- Once mochi is soft and gooey, the zoni is ready to serve.
I made this as a romantic dinner for my partner who was delighted by the authentic Japanese flavours. It was relatively easy to find the unusual ingredients (China town) and she subsequently asked me to marry her. Result! P.S. you may want to leave out salt if you are the kind of chef who absentmindedly adds some without checking first. The flavours are nicely balanced.