Sunday, October 24, 2010

Donabe Chikuzen-ni (root vegetables stew)

Here's another classic Japanese dish.
"Chikuzen-ni" is a stew of root vegetables and other ingredients. It often includes small pieces chicken thighs (chicken adds the deeper flavor). This time, I made the shojin (Buddhist vegan) style Chikuzen-ni with the shojin dashi stock (infused with dry shiitake mushrooms and kombu). So, there is no chicken, but the dry shiitake and root vegetables gave the very nice complex flavors.

Photobucket Photobucket
To make this stew, I like using my Soup & Stew Donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe", which has the very thick body and makes the wonderful stew or slow-cooking dishes.

You can do a combination leftover ingredients. This time, I used satsuma yam (Japanese sweet potato) and also added some leftover soft tofu at the end.

Shojin Chikuzen-ni

3-4 oz lotus root, cut into oblique, soaked in water
3-4 oz gobo (burdock root), cut into bite-size pieces, soaked in water
1/2 medium-size carrot, cut into oblique
1 konnyaku (yam jelly), tear by hand into small pieces
2 dry shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, destemmed, and cut into quarters (save the soaking liquid)
1 medium-size satsuma yam, cut into 2/3" discs and further cut in half, soaked in water
4-5 oz soft tofu
1.5 tablespoons sesame oil
1.5 cups shojin (vegan) dashi stock
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons raw brown sugar
2 tablespoons mirin
4 tablespoons soy sauce

some shichimi peppers

1. Drain the lotus root and gobo out of the water.
2. Heat the sesame oil in Miso-shiru Nabe, and saute the lotus root, gobo, carrot, konnyaku, and rehydrated shiitake for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the dashi stock, sake, sugar, and mirin. Add some saved soaking liquid for shiitake (if necessary) so that the liquid covers more than 2/3 of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer.
4. Place a piece of foil on the surface of the ingredients. Cover with the lid. Simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Drain the satsuma yam and add to the pot. Add the soy sauce. Put the foil and lid back on and simmer for additional 8-10 minutes.
6. Uncover and add the tofu (scoop out bite size pieces by a spoon). Cover again with a lid.
7. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 15 minutes. Serve into individual bowls and sprinkle some shichimi peppers (optional).

*The stew will taste even better after 3 hours. You can enjoy at room temperature or reheat it.