Nickey's Umani Surprise

"This is Nickey's version of Umani, a Japanese root vegetable dish. This is a relatively simple recipe, just a lot of ingredients! Surprise ... because you never know what's going to be put in it! The prep time is long because of all the soaking involved. Time does not include the time to prepare the ichiban dashi broth. You will need 2 cups broth to prepare this dish. The dashi may be frozen or refrigerated; it will keep for 3 days. If you don't want to make dashi from scratch they do sell instant dashi in the oriental section of most grocers."
photo by marisk photo by marisk
photo by marisk
Ready In:
1hr 40mins


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces chicken, cut to 1-inch pieces
  • 1 round onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled & cut to 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces burdock root, skin scraped off and sliced diagonally in 1-1/2-inch pieces (gobo)
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed (soak in water 30 minutes)
  • 8 ounces fresh lotus root, peeled and sliced in 1/8-inch rounds (renkon)
  • 9 ounces konjac, 1-inch pieces, any shape (konnyaku or devil's tongue, comes white or with seaweed)
  • 8 ounces taro root, peeled (araimo or dasheen)
  • 1 -2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 -3 tablespoons light soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
  • 10 -15 snow peas

  • 4 inches kelp (nishime kombu)
  • 3 cups water
  • 34 cup bonito flakes
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Heat the oil in a deep pan and stir-fry the chicken, burdock, carrots and onion, about 5 minutes.
  • Add remaining vegetables. Continue cooking another 5 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups dashi broth and bring to a boil; then reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add seasoning ingredients continue simmering 5 minutes.
  • Add uzumaki and burdock fish cake; continue simmering for another 5 minutes.
  • Add snow peas. Cook until snow peas are tender.

  • Wipe kombu with a damp cloth; then soak in 3 cups water for 1 hour.
  • Place konbu and soaking water in saucepan over medium heat. Just before the water begins to boil, remove konbu.
  • Add 1/2 cup dried bonito flakes to water and turn heat to low. Cook for 30 seconds, add a pinch of salt, then remove from heat. The salt is the keep the broth from being overpowered by the bonito flavor.
  • Let stand until the flakes sink to the bottom (this may take 20-30 minutes). Strain broth to remove flakes.
  • I add the removed konbu to the main dish -- tie into knots at 1-1/2-inch intervals; cut between the knots.
  • OPTIONAL AddIns: 8 ounces white daikon radishes (cut in 1-inch rounds, then cut those in half); 8 ounces takenoko (boiled bamboo shoot)-I like bamboo but find it a little bitter; any fishcake (don't use sweet tasting fishcake) cut in rounds or bitesize; potatoes, aburage (fried tofu) cut in strips, etc.

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<p>Aloha! I just recently started spending more time in the kitchen and am learning that cooking and baking can be fun as well as challenging. My favorite cookbook resources are my 'gourmet' sister and the very patient and generous Ohana of Zaar.&nbsp;Mahalo nui loa! <br /><br />My rating system: The first time I try a recipe, I follow the instructions as given; if I do a little tweaking, I keep that in mind when rating. It's not right to rate lower because of something I did or didn't do. <br />***** ... Excellent! Tasted great with/without tweaking. <br />**** &nbsp;... Loved It! Tasted great with/without tweaking. <br />No stars ... May be an excellent recipe but I was unable to get it to work for me. May or may not try again later. We don't all have the same taste preferences. I've found recipes with lots of five stars that just didn't work for me and some with less that I thought were great. <br />Thank you All for sharing!</p>
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