Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nishime (Simmered Vegetables)

Nishime (pronounced “KNEE-she-may”) is a delicious Japanese vegetable “stew” in a thin broth, a dish that’s a staple in many Hawaii homes.
Once the ingredients (available in most Asian supermarkets) are cut into bite-sized pieces, all that remains is to pre-cook some of them, then throw everything into in a large pot of water and boil. Easy!
It’s delicious with steamed rice, often served in the same bowl over the rice, with lots of broth – the shiru (pronounced “SHE-roo”).
Ingredients
  • NISHIME KONBU (thick, dark-green seaweed),1 strip (36-inches)
  • BAMBOO SHOOTS, 1 cup, cut into 1½-inch  pieces
  • GOBO (burdock root), 1 cup, scraped, cut into ¼-inch diagonal slices
  • SALAD OIL, 2 tablespoons
  • PORK, 1/2 pound, thinly sliced
  • WATER, 2½ cups
  • SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, 3 fresh, quartered (or if dried, soak before quartering)
  • KONNYAKU (potato “jelly” block), cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • DAIKON, 1 cup, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • CARROTS, 1 cup, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • LOTUS ROOT, 1 peeled and sliced into ¼-inch “wheels”
  • ARAIMO (Japanese taro), 6-8 boiled and peeled
  • A-GE TOFU (Deep-fried tofu cubes, pronounced “AH-Gay,” optional), 1 cup
  • SUGAR, 3 tablespoons
  • MIRIN (Japanese sweet rice wine), 2 tablespoons
  • SALT, ½ teaspoon
  • SOY SAUCE, 1/3 cup

Directions
  1. Wash the konbu and strip lengthwise into 3-inch wide strips. Tie the strips in knots at 2-inch intervals; cut between the knots and soak in water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, then place in a pot with water to cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the bamboo shoots and parboil for a few minutes. Remove from the water. Do the same with the gobo.
  3. In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the pork and stir-fry until light brown.
  4. Add the water, all of the vegetables, sugar and mirin. Cover, bring to a boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Add the salt and soy sauce, and simmer an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
  6. Serve with (or over) rice.

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