I’m finally joining the slow cooker bandwagon! Many friends in the US have a slow cooker in their kitchen and they’ve been telling me to get one. However slow cookers are not common in Japan and I did not grow up using them. Maybe it’s because most kitchens are quite small and there is no space for another small appliance.
I received my slow cooker a few months ago and I’ve been testing out Japanese recipes with it and it’s been fun, and amazingly easy! Today I’ll share this Slow Cooker Chicken Wings and Daikon (鶏手羽と大根の煮物).
Making Nimono (煮物) with Slow Cooker
In Japan, simmered dishes are called Nimono (煮物) and a typical home cooked meal usually includes one or more nimono dishes. For simmered dishes that contains both vegetables and meat, we usually cook for 20-30 minutes at most. Sometimes people do use pressure cooker to cook ingredients “faster” but we don’t really cook them “slowly.”
Before using the slow cooker to test out recipes, I had one big concern about cooking Japanese food in a slow cooker. Will the ingredients become too salty being cooked for such a long time?
For Japanese cuisine, one of the fundamentals is that the taste of ingredients themselves are very important. We tend to be careful not to overcook the fresh ingredients and not to overpower the original taste of ingredients. Due to this, Japanese food can be considered as “bland” for some people especially if you’re used to seasoning food with lots of spices and seasonings.
Despite my concerns, the dish didn’t come out too salty. The chicken wings were really tender and the meat came off the bone very easily after cooking for 5 hours. Daikon was also very tender, yet still kept its shape in the pot and absorbed all the umami juice coming from the chicken and dashi.
If you don’t own a slow cooker, you can simply simmer the ingredients in a regular pot for 20-30 minutes. The meat will not come off the bone, but it’s still delicious and it’s one of my favorite simmered dishes!
What Slow Cooker Do I Use:
If you are wondering what slow cooker I own, I received IP-DUO60 from the Instant Pot. It has both slow cooker and pressure cooker functions. I was hesitant to get it but Mr. JOC heard from co-workers saying they loved this particular model and use it almost daily. Here are my favorite things about this slow cooker so far:
- It has an electric timer, so I can set it and not worry about it.
- There are different modes built in, including saute so I can brown the meats and ingredients directly inside the pot without using my stove.
- Fairly easy to clean up, just throw the pot and small parts into the dishwasher and wash the lid by hand.
- It also has pressure cooking function, which I have yet to test.
Substitution of Ingredients for Slow Cooker Chicken Wings
When I share Japanese recipes here on my blog, I try to keep them as authentic as possible so that I can show you the true taste of Japanese food in Japan.
In my last post, I asked my readers what can I do to improve the site. Many readers requested for me to add substitution information for the ingredients that can be hard to find in their local grocery stores. I think that’s a wonderful idea and I’d be happy to include substitutions that I think would work. However, please note that these are my best guess/judgement and I have not necessarily tried using the substitutions in my cooking.
For this dish, you can make it into vegetarian or vegan by omitting chicken and egg (for vegan) and replace them with all kinds of root vegetables such as carrots, radish, turnips, etc. If you want to add in leafy or soft vegetable, add it toward the end of cooking so you won’t overcook them.
In Japan, this particular dish always include both chicken wings and daikon. You can use other types of meat if you like. Daikon can be found in Japanese grocery stores as well as other Asian grocery stores, especially Chinese and Korean ones. Daikon releases moisture while being cooked, and absorbs all the flavors back so it’s a perfect ingredient for all kinds of Japanese simmered dishes. Try finding daikon for this dish, but if you still can’t find it, you can replace it with other root vegetables of your choice.
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- ½ daikon (450 g, 1 lb)
- 1” (2.5 cm) ginger
- Pinch of salt for blanching daikon leaves
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 9 chicken wings (I used mid joints), rinsed and pat dried with paper towel
- ½ cup water
- 2 boiled eggs, peeled
- Peel daikon and cut into ½” (1.3 cm) thick rounds. Peel ginger and slice thinly.
- If green leaves are still attached to your daikon, cut into 2 inch pieces and blanch in salted water (just sprinkle salt in boiling water before adding the leaves). When the leaves are tender, take out and soak in ice water to stop cooking further.
- Add oil in the slow cooker and brown the chicken thoroughly.
- Add daikon and ginger in the pot.
- Add the seasonings (3 Tbsp. sake, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. mirin, 3 Tbsp. soy sauce).
- Add water and boiled eggs (make sure they are peeled). Set the slow cook timer for 5 hours.
- After cooking for 5 hours. Serve the chicken wings, daikon, and eggs along with the blanched daikon leaves.
If you don’t own a slow cooker, you can simply simmer the ingredients in a regular pot for 20-30 minutes.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.