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Classic Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew

Chikuzen-ni

Traditional Japanese comfort food
Chikuzen-ni (recipe)

Equipment

Classic-style donabe (medium)

Servings

5-6 as part of a multi-course meal

Ingredients

  • 14 oz (400g) boneless chicken thighs, cut into large bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 oz (300 g) lotus root, peeled and cut into oblique
  • 6 oz (180 g) gobo (burdock root), cut into oblique
  • 4 oz (120g) carrot, peeled and cut into oblique
  • 8 oz (240g) konnyaku (yam jelly), rinsed and torn by hand into bite-size pieces
  • 6 small dry shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, destemmed, and cut into half (save the soaking water)
  • 5 medium-size sato-imo (taro), peeled and cut into half
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) sake
  • about 2 cups (480 ml) dashi stock
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 3 tablespoons usukuchi shoyu (light color soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • some blanched snow peas (optional)
  • some shichimi togarashi (optional)

Procedure

  1. Season both sides of the chicken with salt. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (or at least 30 minutes).
  2. In a large bowl, soak the lotus root as soon as it is cut for 5-10 minutes.  Drain.  Also in a separate bowl, soak the cut taro in water.
  3. Heat the sesame oil in the donabe and sauté the lotus root, burdock root, carrot, konnyaku, and rehydrated dry shiitake mushrooms over medium-heat.
  4. Add the sake, reserved soaking water for shiitake mushrooms, and enough dashi stock to barely cover the ingredients. Add the sugar and mirin.
  5. Cover with lid and bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Skim as necessary.
  6. Add both kinds of the soy sauces.  Line the surface of the contents with a drop-lid ("otoshi buta") or a piece of aluminum foil.  Cover with lid again, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until all the ingredients are already quite tender and the broth is reduced by more than 1/3.
  7. Meanwhile, boil water in a separate pot and blanch the drained taro for 5 minutes.  Drain and rinse.
  8. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté the chicken, skin side down until golden brown over medium-high heat (about 3 minutes).  Turn them over, and cook for 2 more minutes over medium heat.  Set aside.
  9. Add the blanched taro (gently push them to the bottom so that they will absorb the broth nicely) and the chicken (without the pan juice) to the donabe.  Cover again and continue to simmer for 7-10 minutes or until everything is cooked through.
  10. Garnish with blanched snow peas and present at the dining table. Serve into individual bowls and sprinkle some shichimi togarashi (optional).

About the measurements used in our recipes

For rice measurement, traditional Japanese rice measurement is used.
1 rice-cup = 3/4 US cup = 180 ml
Other conversions (US to metric measures)
1 cup = 240 ml
1 inch (1") = 2.5 cm
1 ounce (1 oz) = 30 ml