Braised Chicken and Vegetables


400g(14 oz) taro root (satoimo)

2 carrots (ninjin)

1 lotus root (renkon)

1 burdock root (gobo)

8 dried shiitake mushrooms (hoshi-shiitake)

2 chicken thighs (tori momoniku)

1 small pre-cooked bamboo shoot (takenoko mizu-ni)

1 block of konnyaku

8 arrowhead bulbs (kuwai)

8 snow peas (kinusaya)

4 cups (27 fl oz/800 ml) of Japanese soup stock (dashi)

Instead of Japanese soup stock (dashi):
4 1/2 cups (30.4 fl oz/900 ml) water
1 x 20cm (8 inch) piece of kelp (konbu)
3 cups (20 fl oz/600 ml) of dried bonito (kezuribushi, or katsuobushi)
1/2 cup (3.4 fl oz/100ml) soy source (shoyu)
1/2 cup(3.4 fl oz/100ml) Japanese sake (nihonshu)
1/4 cup (1.7 fl oz/50ml) mirin
salad oil to taste
1 teaspoon of yuzu citrus peel to decorate


1Rinse and soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in 200cc (6.8 fl oz/ 200 ml) of water for around 1 hour. Remove from pan and set aside. Remove any scum on the water and save the remaining liquid. Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms.

2Make a cut in the kelp. In a pot, soak the kelp in 4 1/2 cups (30.4 fl oz/900 ml) of water for a little over 1 hour. Place the pot over a flame and cook without bringing to the boil. Remove the kelp and set aside. Add the dried bonito to the pot and remove from heat, letting cool naturally. Strain and retain the leftover liquid. Cut the kelp into 8 mm (5/16 inch) pieces and tie the pieces into knots.

3Peel the taro roots and remove any dirt. Cut into bite size pieces. Peel the carrots and cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Peel the lotus root, cut into slices and soak in water.

4Scrape the skin off the burdock. Cut into diagonal slices and soak in water.

5Cut the konnyaku into small half centimeter or so pieces. Slit the konnyaku down the center but leave both ends intact. (Do not cut the konnyaku in half.) Pass one end through the opening. The result will be to see both leaves appearing twisted. (This decorative cut is called "tazuna (rein) konnyaku"). Transfer to a small pot and cover with water. Place the pot over heat and allow it to boil for 2 minutes. Drain the konnyaku and set aside.

6Cut the bamboo shoot into 8 pieces roughly 5 mm each. Cut the chicken thighs into bite size pieces. Peel the arrowhead bulbs. In a deep frying pan, heat the salad oil to 160C/ 320F and fry for 2 minutes. Add salt to the boiling water then add the snow peas and heat lightly till done. Mince the yuzu citrus peel into pieces around 3 mm in size.

7In a stewing pot, heat 1 tablespoon of salad oil. Add the chicken and saute until outer the surface is white.

8Add the taro roots, carrots, and burdock and saute lightly. Add the Japanese soup stock and shiitake mushroom liquid, and cook through until the contents boil. Add the lotus root, konnyaku, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms and kelp knots. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.

9Reduce the heat and add the deep fried arrowhead bulbs, Japanese sake and mirin, and cook for a further 5 minutes.

10Add the soy sauce and cook for another 5 minutes.

11Remove from the heat, cover, and let cool. The taro roots should be tendor enough for the tip of a chopstick to be inserted smoothly. If still firm, reheat and boil until the taro roots are tender. Again, cover, and let cool.

12Serve in a dish or traditional Japanese container, "Ju-bako". Top with the snow peas, and sprinkle with the minced yuzu citrus peel.

Liquid Measures:
1 cup = 200ml = 6.76 fl oz
1 tablespoon = 15ml = 0.5 fl oz
1 teaspoon = 5ml = 0.16 fl oz

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