among the other osechi dishes, chikuzen-ni is one of my favorites. first of all, it’s good for you. it’s full of fiber. it contains gobo (burdock), renkon (lotus root) and konnyaku. second, it’s delicious. my mom makes killer chikuzen-ni. i tried last year too, but it turned out only okay. i probably didn’t cook it slowly enough…
this year, i wanted to make it as close as my mom’s chikuzen-ni as possible. so i cooked it slowly, like she does. i also used chicken thighs with bones, so that bones added more flavor.
chikuzen (筑前) was the name of a local administrative area in the west of fukuoka prefecture, from the nara period to the meiji period (710 ~ 1871). chikuzen-ni is a local dish from this region, but now it’s popular all over japan.
it is very hard to cook authentic japanese food in a small canadian city like saskatoon, let alone osechi ryori. it’s hard to find the right vegetables. luckily i was able to get some ingredients from the asian markets in winnipeg when i was there over the holiday. and i also had some japanese food that my parents sent me. so in the end, i managed to cook up some dishes for the new year. paul was very happy.
i ended up making only nine dishes. so i call it “petit osechi” :)
chikuzen-ni recipe (for four)
- four slices of chicken thigh with bones
- sake to marinate the chicken
- 1 carrot
- 1 gobo
- 1 small renkon
- 4 dried shiitake
- 1/2 konnyaku
- 8 snowpea
- some flower shaped carrots
- 1 cup of the liquid from shiitake
- 1 1/2 dashi (japanese soup stock)
- TBSP 6 soy sauce
- TBSP 4 mirin
- TBSP 4 sake
- TBSP 4 sugar
also you need parchment paper
- cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and massage the chicken with sake. set aside.
- rough chop the carrot, gobo and renkon. (cut the vegetables at an angle and rotate the vegetable and cut again, so that the pieces have more surface area.) soak the gobo and renkon in a bowl of water with vinegar to prevent them from discoloring.
- remove strings from snowpeas. blanch in hot water, then transfer to cold water.
- boil the konnyaku and cut into bite-size pieces.
- re-hydrate the dried shiitake in one or two cups of water. remove the stems and cut in half. strain and save the liquid.
- heat oil in a pan and add the chicken. when it’s cooked, add all the vegetables except the snowpeas.
- add the dashi and all the seasoning.
- make a lid with parchment paper. place the lid directly on the food cooking in the pot.
- skim off any scum that forms. turn the heat to low.
- cook slowly until reduced by approx. 30%.
- decorate with snowpeas and flower shaped carrots.