Chicken and Vegetable Pot with Dark Broth

Tori Nabé

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4–6

    .

Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

Bite-size pieces of chicken are simmered with an interesting assortment of vegetables in a sweetened dark stock. No dipping sauces here—the pot is rich and flavorful just as it is. The Japanese love to add soft rice cakes or cooked thick white noodles to this pot after all the chicken and vegetables have been eaten, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it this way, too. Or serve hot white rice on the side to eat throughout the meal. A tossed green salad or salt-pickled vegetables would complement the menu nicely.

Ingredients

  • 3–4 chicken breasts, skinned and boned
  • 3–4 scallion(s)
  • 2–3 leeks
  • 1 cake yaki-dōfu (grilled bean curd)
  • 1–2 clumps énokidaké (small fragrant white mushrooms on tall slender stalks); fresh are marvelous, but canned are fine, too
  • 8–10 inches gobō (burdock root); fresh is preferred
  • ¼ pound shungiku (chrysanthemum leaves) or fresh spinach
  • Optional: 4–6 omochi (glutinous rice cakes) or 1 pound cooked udon (thick white noodles)
  • 3 cups dashi (Basic Soup Stock)
  • 5 tablespoons usu kuchi shoyu (light soy sauce)
  • tablespoons regular soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (syrupy rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Method

Slice the chicken breasts into thin, bite-size pieces. Trim the scallions and leeks, then cut them into 2-inch lengths. Drain the grilled bean curd (it usually comes packed in water) and cut it in half lengthwise, then across 3 or 4 times to yield 8–10 bite-size blocks. Rinse the mushrooms under cold water and trim off the dark yellow and brown roots (attached to fresh mushrooms). Peel or scrape fresh burdock root, cut it into shavings, and soak them in cold water for a few minutes before draining. Or drain canned burdock root and blanch it for 10 seconds then drain again and cut it into shavings. Rinse and towel dry the chrysanthemum or spinach leaves, then trim off any roots and/or flowering buds. If the stalks are longer than 4–5 inches, cut them in half. If you’ve decided to add glutinous rice cakes to your pot, soak them in a bowl of water to ensure softness. Or, if using noodles, cook and drain them well. Arrange all your ingredients attractively on a large platter or tray and bring it to the table.

In a large pot, combine the basic stock, soy sauces, syrupy rice wine and sugar. Heat while stirring to melt the sugar. Bring the seasoned broth to a boil, then lower the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer. Add half the chicken slices, scallions, leeks, bean curd, mushrooms and burdock root, and simmer for 4–5 minutes. Add half the green leaves, cover and cook for another minute or two. Have everyone help himself to what he likes, then replenish the pot with the remaining chicken and vegetables and cook them as you did before. When all has been eaten, drain your rice cakes and add to the dark broth. Simmer for 1–2 minutes until very soft and stretchy. Give each person 1 rice cake and ladle some of the dark soup over it. (Or add cooked and drained noodles to the pot and heat them through for a minute, serving some to each person with the soup from the pot.)