Lately I have been trying out different nimono, simmered dishes. Nimono are considered a bit tricky by some, but preparing the vegetables properly, and adding the stock ingredients in right order is a big part of the process.
Chikuzen-ni (for 4 persons)
200g chicken thigh
100g boiled bamboo shoot
1/2 lotus root
12 snow peas
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 block of konnyaku
1 tbs sesame oil
1/2 cup of water where shiitake were soaked
1 cup dashi stock
3 tbs sugar
2 tbs sake
3 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs mirin
1) Soak the dried shiitake in cold water to soften. Cut the stems off, and cut diagonally to half. Keep 1/2 cup of liquid for later use!
2) Cut konnyaku to 3 cm thick bars, and teat into bite-sized by hand. Rub some salt on the cubes and rinse in cols water. Put in a pot with plenty of water and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 mins, then drain on a sieve.
3) Boil the bamboo shoots quickly to take off the bitterness.
4) Peel the carrot and lotus root. Cut the two and the boiled bamboo shoots into bite-sized pieces.
5) Scrape off the skin of the burdock with a piece of aluminum foil, and cut to bite-size. Put in a bowl with water and little bit vinegar for 4 mins to take off the bitterness. Rinse in cold water.
6) Take off the excess skin and fat from the chicken, and cut to 3 cm sized cubes. Pour a small amount of sake on the meat and let stand for 1-2 mins.
7) Cut off the stalks off snow peas and remove the strings. Boiled quickly in salted water and rinse in cold water. Cut in half.
8) Heat the sesame oil in a pot, add burdock, lotus root, carrot, konnyaku and bamboo shoots in this order, and fry over high heat. When covered in oil evenly, add shiitake and chicken, and continue to fry.
9) When chicken is heated through, add water used to soak mushrooms, and dashi stock. Reduce heat to medium, and skim the foam when comes to boil. Add sugar, and then sake, and simmer for 10 mins.
10) Add the soy sauce and cover with a drop lid made from aluminum foil. Let simmer until the liquid has been reduced to half.
11) Turn the high heat and add mirin to give the dish glossy appearance. Add the boiled snow beans and mix lightly.