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Instant Pot Nishime 煮しめ (圧力鍋)

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    Simmered in a savory dashi based sauce, Nishime is a classic one-pot vegetable stew to serve in Osechi for the Japanese New Year celebration. 

    A blue Japanese bowl containing Nishime, simmered vegetables and chicken.

    The Osechi (Japanese New Year’s food) menu is about preserving traditional recipes and celebrating the essence of food. Whether it’s for prosperity or good health, every dish plays a role in welcoming the new year. You’ll find simmered dishes such as Nishime (煮しめ) or sometimes called Chikuzenni (筑前煮), being served for its many auspicious significance.

    In this one-pot colorful stew, root vegetables and chicken are simmered in dashi broth seasoned with soy sauce, sake, and mirin. I’ve shared my regular stove-top Chikuzenni recipe before, but this year I decided to speed things up by using the pressure cooker function of the Instant Pot. It can make a big batch in a short time, perfect for entertaining a big group of family and friends!

    Watch How to Make Instant Pot Nishime

    Simmered in a savory dashi based sauce, Nishime is a classic one-pot vegetable stew to serve in Osechi for the Japanese New Year celebration.

    What is Nishime?

    Nishime (煮しめ) is a traditional Japanese vegetable stew sometimes prepared with chicken. The dish is the most popular nimono (煮物), or a simmered dish in English, and a classic representation of Japanese home-cooked meal. It’s often served at special celebratory occasions and Japanese New Year because the ingredients have different meanings for joy, happiness, prosperity, and cleansing.

    The stew commonly includes root vegetables, starchy potatoes, konnyaku (konjac), kombu, deep-fried tofu, sometimes chicken, fish cake (chikuwa and kamaboko), and occasionally fish depending on the regions.

    The cooking method where you simmer ingredients for a long time to reduce the cooking liquid is called Nishimeru (煮しめる), and shorten to Nishime (煮しめ). Sometimes it’s written as Nishime (煮染め) or Nishime (煮締め), or Onishime with honorary “o”.

    A blue Japanese bowl containing Nishime, simmered vegetables and chicken.

    Decorative-Cut Ingredients

    As a New Year’s dish, the vegetables and konnyaku are cut into fancy shapes to celebrate the occasion. Whether you want to cut the ingredients with decorative designs or not, it is entirely up to you. I have two reasons why it can be a nice thing:

    1. Dress up for the New Year. This is the special time we put on fancy clothing and dress up our homes, why not do it for the Osechi too?
    2. A “wow” factor for this very humble dish, with root vegetables and other low-key ingredients.

    Too much work? I agree, especially when you have to make so many other dishes for the New Year. But hey, that’s why I’m introducing the Instant Pot version.

    A blue Japanese bowl containing Nishime, simmered vegetables and chicken.

    Auspicious Ingredients for Instant Pot Nishime

    The following ingredients are included for auspicious reasons:

    • Carrot – Welcome spring by shaping carrot into plum (ume) flower.
    • Lotus root – The holes of lotus root presents a clear and unobstructed future.
    • Burdock root – A skinny, long root that grows straight down into the ground symbolizes stability for house and family.
    • Shiitake mushroom – It represents longevity when you cut the edges of the mushroom into a hexagon that resembles a turtle shape.
    • Taro – Taro symbolizes fertility or descendants’ prosperity as you can find a lot of baby taros in one root.

    A blue Japanese bowl containing Nishime, simmered vegetables and chicken.

    Substituting Difficult-to-Find Japanese Ingredients

    Vegetables: Many of the ingredients used in Nishime that can be found in Chinese and/or Korean grocery stores, and sometimes Southeast Asian grocers. If you are lucky, some of the major grocery stores like Whole Foods or local co-ops may carry these unique vegetables too.

    Konnyaku (konjac): This, on the other hand, maybe difficult to find. But you can skip it as konjac is included more for the texture and auspicious purpose.

    Dashi Packet: To show you how quickly you can make dashi, I used dashi packet in this recipe. You can buy a bag of dashi packet from my favorite brand Kayanoya on Amazon (or less-expensive option). I really want to encourage you to ditch the dashi powder and start using dashi packet instead. The flavor of dashi is really important for this dish or any other Japanese cooking.

    Dashi from Scratch: Of course, it’s best to make dashi from scratch. It is so simple and takes only half an hour or less to make dashi (or can be faster). You can’t make authentic Japanese food without dashi, so please try your best to make dashi instead of using other stock (unless I mention it).

    And may the New Year bring you and your family lots of happiness and new inspirations as you enjoy this Instant Pot Nishime together.

    A blue Japanese bowl containing Nishime, simmered vegetables and chicken.

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.5 from 14 votes
    A blue Japanese bowl containing Nishime, simmered vegetables and chicken.
    Instant Pot Nishime
    Prep Time
    30 mins
    Cook Time
    55 mins
    Total Time
    1 hr 25 mins

    Simmered in a savory dashi based sauce, Nishime is a classic one-pot vegetable stew to serve in Osechi for the Japanese New Year celebration. 

    Course: Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: Japanese New Year, nishime, osechi
    Servings: 6 (as a side)
    Author: Namiko Chen
    For Dashi
    For Nishime Ingredients
    1. Gather all the ingredients.
      Instant Pot Nishime Ingredients
    To Make Dashi
    1. In a small saucepan, add 1 cup water and 1 dashi packet. Slowly bring to a boil on medium-low heat, while gently shaking the bag a few times to get more flavors. Once boiling, lower the heat and cook for 1 minute. Then turn off the heat. If you want to make dashi with dashi powder, click here.

      Instant Pot Nishime 1
    2. Remove the pot from heat and remove the dashi packet. Add the dried shiitake mushrooms in dashi to rehydrate for 15 minutes.

      Instant Pot Nishime 2
    To Prepare Ingredients
    1. Remove the tough strings off the snow peas.

      Instant Pot Nishime 3
    2. Make Tazuna Konnyaku. Slice konnyaku to about ⅛ to ¼ inch (7-8 mm) thick. At the center of each slice, make a 1 ½ inch slit.

      Instant Pot Nishime 4
    3. Put the top or bottom part through the hole. Push it in and pull out both ends.
      Instant Pot Nishime 5
    4. Boil water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a pinch of salt and blanch the snow peas for 30-60 seconds, until crisp but tender enough to eat. Transfer snow peas to a sieve/plate.
      Instant Pot Nishime 6
    5. In the same boiling water, add the konnyaku and cook for 2-3 minutes to remove the smell (which is why you cook after snow peas).
      Instant Pot Nishime 7
    6. Cut the bamboo shoot into quarters. Keep the tip into 1 ½ inch length (so it will look pretty), and slice the rest (bottom) of the piece.
      Instant Pot Nishime 8
    7. Peel the lotus root skin and cut in half.
      Instant Pot Nishime 9
    8. [Optional] If you want to make Hana Renkon (Flower Lotus Root), here is the tutorial.

      Instant Pot Nishime 10
    9. Slice the lotus root into ¼ inches and soak in water (or 2 cups water + 1 tsp vinegar to make the lotus root whiter).
      Instant Pot Nishime 11
    10. Peel and cut the carrot using Rangiri Japanese cutting technique. [Optional] If you like the flower shape carrot, then first cut the top 2 inches into ¼ inch slices. And cut the rest of carrot using Rangiri cutting technique.
      Instant Pot Nishime 12
    11. [Optional] Cut out the carrot into a flower shape. You can eat the cutout carrot (mince it and use in fried rice or soup).

      Instant Pot Nishime 13
    12. Peel the taro skin with a sharp knife. It’s very tough, so I don’t recommend using the vegetable peeler. Instead, use a knife to slowly peel the skin. For taro, it’s recommended to peel the skin thick (It’s not considered wasteful to remove skin with more flesh attached).
      Instant Pot Nishime 14
    13. Cut each taro in half and soak in water to get rid of starch and astringent taste.
      Instant Pot Nishime 15
    14. Lightly peel the gobo skin with the back of your knife (unlike taro, you want to preserve the flesh as much as possible as the flavor of gobo stay right under the skin). Cut the gobo using Rangiri Japanese cutting technique and soak in water to get rid of starch and astringent taste.

      Instant Pot Nishime 16
    15. By now the dried shiitake mushrooms should be soft and hydrated in the dashi. Squeeze the liquid out from the shiitake mushrooms. And strain the dashi over a fine mesh sieve over a measuring cup. You will need 200 ml (= take away 2 Tbsp from 1 cup).

      Instant Pot Nishime 17
    16. Discard the stem of shiitake mushrooms. [Optional] Cut the edges to make into a hexagon, which represents turtle shape for longevity.

      Instant Pot Nishime 18
    17. Cut the chicken tender using Sogigiri. cutting technique. It creates more surface which allows the chicken to cook faster and absorb more flavors.

      Instant Pot Nishime 19
    To Cook Ingredients in Instant Pot
    1. Press the “Sauté” button on your Instant Pot and heat 1 ½ Tbsp sesame oil.
      Instant Pot Nishime 20
    2. Add the chicken tender and coat with oil.
      Instant Pot Nishime 21
    3. When the chicken is no longer pink outside, add the lotus root, taro, gobo, and bamboo shoot. Then add the dashi.
      Instant Pot Nishime 22
    4. Add 1 Tbsp sugar, 2 ½ Tbsp mirin, 1 Tbsp sake, 3 Tbsp usukuchi soy sauce (light color), and ½ tsp kosher salt.
      Instant Pot Nishime 23
    5. Mix well with seasonings and ingredients. Add carrot, konnyaku, and shiitake mushrooms (save the snow pea for garnish).

      Instant Pot Nishime 24
    6. Press “Cancel” to stop “Saute” mode. Close the lid and set HIGH pressure for 3 minutes.
      Instant Pot Nishime 25
    7. Make sure the steam release handle points at “sealing” and not “venting”. The float valve goes up when pressurized.
      Steam Release Handle vent
    Once Pressure Cooking Is Done...
    1. When it’s finished cooking, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to the “Keep Warm” mode. Let the pressure release naturally.
    2. Open the lid and gently mix the ingredients. Serve individually or in a large bowl. Garnish with snow peas (I cut each diagonally in half).

      Instant Pot Nishime 26
    To Store
    1. Transfer Nishime in an airtight container and let cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a pot and serve. The flavor will intensify as time passes. If you plan to serve it later, you may consider reducing the amount of seasoning. Nishime also freezes well. Defrost overnight and reheat in a pot.

    Recipe Video

    Editor’s Note: The post was originally published on December 25, 2018. It’s been republished in 2019.

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