Prep 15 mins
Cook 35 mins
Rich Japanese stew similar to nishime. Made primarily with root vegetables and a small amount of meat with a soy sauce and sugar base. Also common to both dishes is the use of konnyaku (a tasteless and calorie-less jelly-like cake made from a tuber root called devil's tongue) and kombu (strips of seaweed). Traditionally, the stew is simmered until cooked, then cooled and reheated, a process that may be repeated several times. This infuses the soy-sugar flavors deeply into the ingredients and leaves very little soupiness. You can approximate this procedure simply by making your nishime/umani a day ahead and refrigerating it overnight, then reheating. The dish may be adapted to include more of the veggies you like, less of what you don't like. Many people also like adding tiny Japanese taro (araimo). Konnyaku (aka konjac/yam cake) is found in the refrigerated section near the tofu. Use either the white, refined type or the brown, unrefined version. Shirataki noodles would be near the tofu as well (I found them at a health food store; apparently they're great for low-carbers) You can make a quick and easy dashi by putting 1 strip of kelp and 1/2 cup bonito flakes (I found them right next to each other in the Asian section of the same store) in 4 cups water or veggie stock and bring it to a boil; as soon as it boils, remove from heat and strain the dashi into a bowl. Burdock root should be found with the fresh produce or use reconstituted dried burdock root.
- 1 cup burdock root, scraped, cut into 1/2-inch diagonal pieces & soaked until ready to use to prevent discoloration (gobo)
- 1 strip dried kelp, soaked in water until soft & then rinsed (kombu)
- 3 -3 1⁄2 cups chicken stock or 3 -3 1⁄2 cups dashi
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1⁄2 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1⁄2 cup mushroom
- 2 carrots, peeled & cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 (8 ounce) can bamboo shoots
- 1 (4 1/2 ounce) package konjac, cut in bite-sized pieces (aka yam cake) or 6 ounces shirataki noodles, drained and rinsed (made with tofu and yam flour)
- 1⁄4 lb snow peas
- 2 1⁄4 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ajinomoto or 1⁄2 teaspoon Accent seasoning
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
- When the kelp is soft, tie into knots at 1 1/2-inch intervals and cut between the knots (I had to cut it into thinner strips in order to tie it).
- In a soup pot, over medium-high heat, saute chicken and mushrooms in oil until the chicken is cooked (10 minutes).
- Add the broth and bring to a boil.
- Turn heat down to medium, and add the burdock, kelp, and carrots; cook 5-8 minutes.
- Add bamboo and konnyaku; cook until vegetables are done (10 minutes).
- Combine seasonings, stirring to mix thoroughly. Stir into pot and bring sauce to a boil.
- Add the peas and cook until peas are tender (1-2 minutes).
- Serve hot or cold.