Chicken and Root Vegetable Nimono is a dish that is very common in Japan. It’s often found as a side dish on Japanese bento boxes, as part of breakfast or dinner buffets, or as a course in a kaiseki (small plates) style meal. ‘Nimono” (煮物) is a style of cooking where food is simmered in a traditional sweet dashi or soy sauce based stock. The meats and vegetables in nimono can vary by location and season – there are many delicious types of nimono and tremendous ability for chefs to improvise with whatever ingredients are on hand,
There are three types of vegetables that are common in most nimono dishes – satoimo (taro), carrots, and shiitake mushrooms. Satoimo is extremely popular in Japan although it can be a challenge to work with. The skin irritates some peoples skin, and the sataimo is quite slippery when peeled and can be difficult to hold on to. Fortunately, it is possible to buy pre-peeled vacuum packed or frozen sataimo which can be used in cooking with no advanced preparation. Other root vegetables traditionally used include Takenoko (Bamboo Shoots), Kaboucha Squash, Jagaimo (Potatoes) and Renkon (Lotus Root). Nimono is a beautiful dish, and snow pea pods or green beans are often added in small quantities to give the dish color.
Chicken and Root Vegetable Nimono needs to cook evenly, so it’s important to cut all of the vegetables and meat into bite slice pieces approximately the same size. Even though you simmer the nimono for at least 30 minutes, it’s important to slightly undercook the vegetables and then let them sit for awhile off the heat where they will continue to cook internally.
I make the sauce using dashi flakes and water along with soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Although you could also use cooking sake as well, I find that the nimono tastes just as good without it,
Try out this traditional Japanese recipe and let me know what you think in the comments section, below.