"Chikuzenni," Simmered Chicken and Vegetables
"Chikuzenni" is the most popular simmered dish in Japan and often appears in Osechi (Japanese traditional new year feast).
This tasty Simmered Chicken and Vegetables is made with plenty of the soaking liquid from dried Shiitake. I don't recommend using fresh Shiitake. After drying and rehydrating, Shiitake creates "Guanylate," which boosts the Umami taste of any foods cooked with. So especially, a simmered dish will be more delicious by using dried Shiitake. Rehydrating Shiitake overnight in a refrigerator will bring out their sweetness, making them very flavorful. The synergistic Umami provided by the combination of Shiitake and chicken will automatically take this simmered dish to new heights of flavor.
I used to always go through the whole authentic process of making my Dashi stock when preparing this Chikuzen-ni. In this recipe, we focus on getting a good broth from dried Shiitake and simplify the other dashi broths by using dashi packets.
Dried Shiitake mushrooms
Shiitake soaking liquid, plus water
Instant bagged dashi soup stock
Reconstitute the dried Shiitake mushrooms overnight in a refrigerator, so that they are nice and plump. (You will be using the soaking liquid later)
Remove the stem and chop the Shiitake mushrooms, chicken, konnyaku, carrot, burdock root, and lotus root into bite-sized pieces. Cut the ginger into fine strips.Sprinkle the konnyaku with salt. Rub the salt in, and rinse the konnyaku.
Heat the vegetable oil in a pot. Saute the chicken until its color changes.Add the burdock root and saute until fragrant. Add the rest of the ingredients from step 2, and saute as well.
Add the dashi bag and the soaking liquid from the Shiitake mushrooms to the pot. With the dashi bag at the bottom of the pot, cook at high heat.
When the liquid begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium.Add the mirin, sugar, and soy sauce.
Cover and simmer for 15 ~20 minutes on medium heat. Remove the lid and the dashi bag, and cook on low heat until the remaining liquid has evaporated to finish.