Friday, July 1, 2011

Donabe-braised shio-koji chicken and konnyaku

It almost feels like Shio-koji is changing my life. It's becoming an essential ingredient in my cooking. It's not only so versatile (you can simply use it to replace salt, soy sauce, or miso sometimes), but also it gives such umami-powered flavor to a dish.

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I got a pound of organic chicken thighs (boneless and skinless). I wasn't sure what to cook with it, so I first cut them into smaller pieces just marinated the meat in 2 generous tablespoons of shio-koji for 3-4 hours.

Meanwhile, I decided what to make with it. I actually decided this dish, because I wanted to use my beautiful soup & stew donabe, "Miso-shiru Nabe".

One block of konnyaku was rinsed and sliced into 1/4" thick. Then, I made a short slit in the center of each piece, pushed one end to go through the slit to make a twisted knot.

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In Miso-shiru nabe, I heated small amount of sesame oil and stir-fried the shio-koji marinated chicken. Konnyaku and 2 cups of dashi stock was added (you can substitute it with chicken stock, or even just the water would work for a little lighter flavor). I also added 2 table spoons of sake.

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The broth was brought to boil, then reduced to simmer (skim as necessary). The surface was lined with a piece of foil, covered with a lid, and simmered for about 20 minutes. To finish, some thinly-sliced yuzu rind and 1 teaspoon of usukuchi shoyu (light-color soy sauce) were added. It was let rest for 10 minutes after turning off the heat.

That was it! And the result was outstanding. The broth was so rich in tasted almost like fortified. I was so dreaming of making ramen with the broth next time! The chicken was so flavorful and tender. And the aroma of yuzu gave such a nice elegant accent.

Happy donabe life.