Braised Chicken Cubes and Vegetables

Iri-dori

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

Here is a truly fabulous dish of varied tastes and textures. Cubes of crunchy, woodsy burdock root, tender chicken, smooth konnyaku and colorful sweet carrot are braised in a faintly sweet soy broth and finished off with a pinch of fiery hot spices. In Japan, this chicken and vegetable dish frequently shares the limelight with blocks of Thick Sweet Omelet on a Japanese picnic lunch menu. Serve it warm at a Western brunch with scrambled eggs and toast or at dinner over a bed of hot rice with a tossed green salad.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup gobō (burdock root), peeled and diced into ¼-inch cubes
  • ½ cake konnyaku (gelatinous cake made from a tuber vegetable)
  • 1 large chicken breast, skinned and boned
  • tablespoons vegetable oil
  • cup carrot, peeled and diced into ¼-inch 2 cubes
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons saké (rice wine)
  • teaspoon shichimi tōgarashi (7-spice shot pepper)

Method

If using fresh burdock root, soak the pieces in cold water to cover for 5 minutes, then drain them well. If using canned burdock root, blanch the pieces for 30 seconds in boiling water, then drain.

Cut the konnyaku into ¼-inch cubes and blanch them for 1 minute, then drain. This will remove the slightly unpleasant (but entirely normal) odor that this vegetable has. It will make it more porous, too, for better absorption of cooking flavors later.

Cut the chicken into pieces approximately the same size as the vegetables.

Over medium heat, sauté fresh burdock root for 1–2 minutes in vegetable oil until it becomes slightly translucent. Then add the carrots and, stirring, sauté for another 1–2 minutes (if using canned burdock root, sauté it with the carrots). Add the konnyaku and continue to sauté for another minute before adding the chicken. Continue to cook, stirring, until the chicken has turned white (about 2 minutes). Season with the soy sauce, sugar and rice wine and cook for 4–5 minutes. The braising liquid will be frothy and bubbly.

When nearly all the liquid has been reduced, increase the heat to very high and shake the pan vigorously to insure a well-glazed effect. Remove from the heat, sprinkle the hot spices over all and toss well.