Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in ½ cup water (I use a 2-cup measuring cup). Place a heavy object (I use a small bowl) over the mushrooms so they will be submerged completely. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine hijiki seaweed and 4 Tbsp water. Set aside to rehydrate.
Cut the konnyaku into ¼ inch (6 mm) slices, about a pencil width. Then cut in half widthwise.
Cut into thin ¼ inch (6 mm) strips.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, snap/trim the ends of the green beans, if they haven’t been trimmed.
When the water is boiling, add the green beans and blanch for 2 minutes. The remaining heat will continue to cook, so careful not to overcook. Drain and transfer them to a plate/tray.
In the same boiling water, add aburaage and blanch for 10 seconds on each side, flipping once. Transfer to the plate/tray.
In the same boiling water, add the konnyaku. Cook for 2-3 minutes to remove astringency. Drain and transfer it to the plate/tray and set aside. You will use the same pot, so rinse quickly.
When the aburaage is cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise and cut into thin strips (similar to konnyaku shape).
Peel and cut the carrot into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces. Then cut into thin slabs.
Then julienne into thin strips (like konnyaku and aburaage).
Cut the green beans diagonally so the strips will be the same shape as other vegetables.
By this time, the hijiki seaweed should be rehydrated. Drain well and set aside.
In the same medium pot, add the okara (no need to add oil) and stir fry on medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes.
The okara may stick to the pot (especially if you’re using stainless steel like mine), but don’t worry. I usually use a silicone spatula to scrape it off. When the okara is dry and crumbly, remove it from the heat and set aside.
By this time, the dried shiitake mushrooms should be rehydrated and soft. Squeeze the liquid from the mushrooms and save the liquid in the measuring cup. We’ll be using the liquid in the next step. Discard the tough stem of the mushrooms and thinly slice the mushroom caps.
Now the shiitake dashi (reserved shiitake liquid) should be down to about ⅓ cup. We will combine this shiitake dashi with the ⅔ cup dashi prepared in advance. Altogether, you will have 1 cup of dashi. Shiitake dashi may contain some debris, so I recommend straining it over the measuring cup to catch any impurities.
To Cook Okara (Unohana)
In a medium pot, heat 1 ½ Tbsp sesame oil on medium heat. When it’s hot, add the carrot and coat it with oil.
Then add shiitake mushrooms, aburaage, konnyaku, and hijiki seaweed.
Stir all together for 1-2 minutes. Then add 1 cup dashi.