Chikuzenni is a dish with chicken and vegetables simmered in flavorful dashi, mirin, and soy sauce. It's one of the Osechi Ryori (Japanese traditional food) served on New Year's Day.
Gather all the ingredients.
In a small bowl, put dried shiitake mushrooms and 1 cup water and soak for 20-30 minutes, or until tender.
After 30 minutes or so, squeeze the liquid out from the shiitake mushrooms.
Cut the shiitake mushrooms into a hexagon, which represents turtle shape for longevity.
Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. This is called shiitake dashi. It yields roughly ¾ cup.
Remove extra fat of the chicken and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces.
Transfer the chicken in a medium bowl and add ½ Tbps sake and ½ Tbsp soy sauce. Coat the chicken with the marinade and set aside.
Scrape the skin off the burdock root with the back of the knife. After rinsing, cut it into thin slices.
Quickly soak them in water (2 cups water + ½ Tbsp vinegar).
Cut off the ends of taro. Then peel from one end to the other.
Ideally, taro should be a hexagon (6 sides) from the side view.
Cut the taro in half and soak in water. (You can rub them with salt to get rid of the sliminess, if that bothers).
Cut the bamboo shoot into quarters lengthwise.
Cut the bamboo shoot in half widthwise. If each piece is still bigger than bite-size, you can cut in half.
Cut the lotus root into Hana Renkon.
The lotus root should resemble flowers after cutting the edges off.
Cut them into ⅛ inch (3 mm) slices and soak them in water (2 cups water + ½ Tbsp vinegar).
Peel the carrot and cut into ½ inch pieces.
Use a flower-shaped vegetable cutter and cut out each piece into a flower shape. Then make a shallow (roughly ¼ inch deep) incision from the center of the flower to in-between the two petals.
Hold a knife parallel to one petal and make a diagonal cut from right to left in-between petals.
This is called Nejiri Ume.
Cut konnyaku into ¼ inch slices and then make a 1 ½ inch incision in the middle.
Put one end of konnyaku into the hole in the middle and pull it out. This is called Tazuna Konnyaku.
Pull the strings at the seams of the snow peas and discard them. These are tough and not edible.
Boil water in a saucepan and blanch half of the flower carrot for 2 minutes and set aside.
Add a pinch of salt and blanch the snow pea pods for 30-60 seconds, until crisp but tender enough to eat.
Remove the snow peas from the water and transfer to the ice water to stop cooking and set aside.
In the same boiling water, add konnyaku. After boiling again, cook for 2-3 minutes to remove the smell.
Diagonally cut the blanched snow peas in half and set aside.
In the large pot, heat 1 Tbsp of sesame oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the chicken.
Cook the chicken until it turns white. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add ½ Tbsp sesame oil and cook all the ingredients except the blanched snow peas and carrots reserved for decoration.
Stir and coat the ingredients with sesame oil.
Add dashi and shiitake dashi.
Bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Skim off the fat and scum that accumulates on the surface.
Add sake, mirin, sugar, soy sauce, and salt.
Add the chicken back into the pot. Bring it to a simmer. As you see, the stock should cover about 80% of the ingredients.
Put an Otoshibuta (drop lid) on the ingredients and cook for 10 minutes. If you don't have one, you can make an Otoshibuta with aluminum foil.
Remove Otoshibuta and cook for another 10 minutes.
Insert a bamboo skewer into tough vegetables (taro root and lotus root) and see if they are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Add the snow peas and remove from the heat. Cover, and let cool. Serve Chikuzenni in a serving dish or Osechi box. Top with the snow peas and blanched flower shaped carrots.
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 and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.