5 from 3 votes
The flavour of Simmered Chicken and Vegetables, Chikuzenni, is a typical combination of dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sake and sugar but the ingredients are stir-fried first so the dish is much richer than other simmered dishes.
Michiko’s Chikuzenni
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 35 mins
 

This is not the traditional way of making chikuzenni but it is the way my sister in Japan, Michiko, cooks chikuzenni. This method of making chikuzenni is ridiculously long but some Japanese people, including my sister, make the effort because it maximises the best taste out of each ingredient and it presents more nicely. My children always remind me that my sister’s chikuzenni tastes better than mine. So, I tell them, if they want it they have to go to the effort of making it this way because I will never make it like this!!! 

This is almost like 8 different dishes collected together. You could take one or two ingredients and cook them as per this recipe to make little dishes.

Please see the photos below the recipe regarding preparation of vegetables. The cooking time assumes that you cook two items at once using two burners.

Recipe Type: Main, Side
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 6 as side
Ingredients
Bamboo Shoots
  • 140 g (4.9oz) bamboo shoots
  • 200 ml (6.8oz) dashi stock
  • tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
Burdock
  • 110 g (3.9oz) burdock
  • 200 ml (6.8oz) dashi stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • tbsp . sake
  • 1 tbsp sugar
Konnyaku (note 1)
  • 1 pack of konnyaku
  • ½ tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp instant dashi stock grain
  • Sesame oil
  • Shichimi togarashi (optional) (note 2)
Shiitake
  • 6 dried shiitake , rehydrated in 250ml (8.5oz) water (note 3)
  • 200 ml (6.8oz) shiitake dashi from rehydration
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
Lotus Root (note 4)
  • 180 g (6.3oz) lotus root
  • 200 ml (6.8oz) dashi stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • tbsp sake
  • ½ tsp sugar
Chicken
  • 275 g (9.7oz) chicken thigh fillets, cut into 4cm (1½")cubes
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 200 ml (6.8oz) dashi stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp sugar
Carrot
  • 120 g (4.2oz) carrot, cut into 8cm x 2cm x 3-4mm (3⅛” x ¾” x ⅛”) rectangular shape.
  • 50 ml (1.7oz) dashi stock
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
Snow Peas
  • 25 g (0.9oz) snow peas, ends removed
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions
Bamboo Shoots
  1. Cut the tip off for about 5cm (2"). Cut the tip into quarters vertically. Cut the rest into 6mm (¼”) thick discs.

  2. Add bamboo shoots in a pot with the water just covering them. Cook until the water starts boiling, then drain.

  3. Add all the ingredients back in the pot and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes with a lid on.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and mix well. Cook further 10 minutes without the lid.
  5. Put aside on a plate.

Burdock
  1. Scrape off the skin by placing the back of the knife perpendicular to the root and moving it along the direction of the root.
  2. Cut the root into 6cm (2⅜") lengths, then quarter each piece lengthwise. Soak them in the water with vinegar (1 tablespoon vinegar in 600ml (20.3oz) water, not in Ingredients) for 15 minutes. Drain.

  3. Add all the Burdock ingredients into a pot and cook for 15-17 minutes until the liquid almost evaporates.
  4. Put aside on a plate.

Konnyaku
  1. Slice the block crosswise into 5mm (3/16") thick pieces. Make 2.5cm (1") incision lengthwise in the centre of each slice. Put one end through the incision and make a twisted konnyaku which is called “tazuna Konnyaku” (手綱こんにゃく) in Japanese.

  2. Place twisted konnyaku in a sieve and pour boiled water over the konnyaku so that the twist will be moulded.
  3. Heat a pan over high heat and cook konnyaku for about 10 min to remove moisture within konnyaku. This will allow the flavour to penetrate better.
  4. Add ½ tablespoon oil to the pan and stir. Add remaining Konnyaku ingredients and stir for a couple of minutes until the moisture evaporates. Add a few dashes of sesame oil. Sprinkle with shichimi togarashi if using.

  5. Put aside on a plate.

Shiitake
  1. Squeeze water out and remove the stems.
  2. Add all the Shiitake ingredients to a pot. Cook over medium low heat for 15-17 minutes until the liquid almost evaporates.

  3. Put aside on a plate.

Lotus Root
  1. Peel and slice lotus root into 1cm (⅜") thick discs. Place them in water with vinegar (1tablespoon vinegar in 540ml (18.3oz) water, not in Ingredients) for minimum 15 minutes. Drain.

  2. Add lotus root slices and other Lotus Root ingredients to a pot. Cook over medium heat for 17-20 minutes until liquid almost evaporates.

  3. Put aside on a plate.

Chicken
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the pan over high heat. Cook chicken to seal the surface of the chicken pieces.
  2. Add the rest of the chicken ingredients to the pan. Cook over high heat for 10-12 minutes until liquid almost evaporates. Remove scum from time to time.

  3. Put aside on a plate.

Carrot
  1. Put all the Carrot ingredients in a pot and cook over low heat for 9-10 minutes until liquid almost evaporates.
  2. Put aside on a plate.

Snow Peas
  1. Blanch in boiling water with a pinch of salt for 1 minute.
  2. Drain hot water and cool down the snow peas under cold running water immediately. If snow peas are large, i.e.. more than 5 cm (2"), cut it diagonally into half.

  3. Drain and put aside on a plate.

Serving
  1. Place chicken in the centre of a large plate. Group the same vegetable pieces together and plate them around the chicken, balancing the colours (note 5).
Recipe Notes

1. There are greyish konnyaku (as seen in my chikuzenni) and brackish konnyaku (as in this recipe). You can use either of them.

One pack of konnyaku is 250g (8.8oz).

2. Japanese spice mixture with chilli. Please see more details about shichimi togarashi in my post, Tonjiru.

3. Dried shiitake was about 4cm (1½") in diameter when re-hydrated.

4. If you cannot find a fresh lotus root, you can buy frozen lotus roots from Japanese/Asian grocery stores. They are already peeled and sliced into discs, which are just right for this dish. If the diameter of the sliced lotus root is very large, cut it in half.

5. As you can see in the photo, shiitake and carrots are divided into two and placed in the opposite positions. Then the lighter coloured ingredients, i.e. bamboo shoots and lotus roots, and the darker coloured ingredients, i.e. konnyaku and burdock, are placed opposite each other. Place snow peas to decorate.

6. Michiko cooked two items at once. If you can coordinate well and have three pots suitable for cooking, you could cook three items at once which will reduce the total cooking time.