Try this celebratory chicken stew. With burdock, carrots, bamboo shoots and lotus roots, chikuzen-ni is a Japanese version of chicken soup for the soul
- Serves: 4 persons
- 8dried shiitake mushrooms, stalks removed
- ½burdock root peeled and roughly chopped, or 1 turnip, cut into strips
- 300g boneless chicken thighs, skin left on
- 4tbsp Japanese sake
- 3tbsp light soy sauce
- 20snow peas or 150g mangetout, strings removed, cut in half at an angle
- 150g brined bamboo shoots, roughly chopped
- 1carrot (about 120g), roughly chopped
- 1tsp rice vinegar
- 120g peeled lotus root (frozen sliced lotus root is fine), thinly sliced, or use daikon radish
- 150g konnyaku (konjac jelly), in blocks or string noodles, roughly chopped
- 3tbsp caster sugar
- 1tbsp sesame oil
- 2tbsp mirin
- cooked Japanese rice and miso soup, to serve
Step 1Tip the dried shiitake and burdock into a bowl, cover with 250ml water and soak for at least 2 hrs. Drain, reserving the liquid, topping up with enough fresh water to make 250ml. Cut the chicken thighs into 4cm cubes, tip them into a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp each of the sake and soy sauce, rubbing these into the chicken. Set aside.
Step 2Briefly cook the snow peas in a pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt for 50 seconds. Remove to a colander using a slotted spoon and rinse in cold water to cool quickly. Boil the bamboo shoots in the pan for 6 mins, then scoop into a bowl using a slotted spoon. Repeat with the carrots and scoop into a separate bowl. Drizzle the vinegar into the boiling water and cook the lotus root, konnyaku and burdock for 6 mins, then drain.
Step 3Tip the reserved mushroom stock into a separate saucepan along with the sugar, rehydrated mushrooms, bamboo shoots, konnyaku and burdock, and cover with a drop lid. If you don’t have a drop lid, use a lid slightly smaller than the pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 mins.
Step 4Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry for 5 mins until cooked through, browned and crisp. Once cooked, transfer the chicken, draining off the oil, to the simmering dashi stock pot. Add the remaining sake and soy sauce, the mirin and ⅓ tsp salt, and cook for 3 mins. Tip in the lotus roots and carrots, bring to the boil and cook for 5 mins, skimming the surface to remove any scum, if needed. Taste for seasoning and check all the veg is tender.
Step 5Ladle into shallow bowls, top with the snow peas and serve with hot Japanese rice and miso soup.