Simmered “kiriboshi” daikon 切り干し大根の煮物

japanese cake

Kiriboshi” daikon is an old fashioned preserved vegetable in which daikon is cut into thin, long strands and dried. I bought a package some time ago in the Japanese grocery store. Obviously I had forgotten about it but found it while I was going through my Japanese food items in the pantry. I decided to make some dishes using this. It is rather odd looking and it doesn’t smell particularly pleasant (all cruciferous vegetables appear to have similar smell but drying makes it stronger). The drying, however, does add more sweetness. To use this, wash briefly in cold running water and rehydrate in enough water for 20-30 minutes.

Simmered “kiriboshi” daicon 切り干し大根の煮物

This is a very typical way of using “kiriboshi” daikon. After re-hydration, I squeeze water from it and set aside. I thinly slice carrot and julienne. I also julienne abura-age 油揚げ or deep dried tofu pouch. The amounts are totally arbitrary. You could also add shiitake mushroom (dried and re-hydrated shiitake is the best for this but I did not have enough time to re-hydrate dried shiitake this time). In a pan, I add a small amount of vegetable oil and a dash of dark roasted sesame oil and add few flakes of dried red pepper. I then sauté daikon and carrot. When the oil has coated the each vegetable pieces, add abura-age and enough “dashi” stock to cover (In my case,  I used about 200ml). I place an “otoshi buta” and simmer for 10-15 minutes. “Otoshi buta” 落とし蓋 or “drop lid” is frequently called for in Japanese simmered “nimono” 煮物 recipes. It is a lid (often wood) that is smaller in diameter than that of the pan used. This way, the ingredients will cook evenly while allowing evaporation of the simmering broth. Instead, you could use a kitchen parchment paper cut slightly smaller than the opening of the pan (called “kami buta” or paper lid). You do not need a special wooden lid (I have one but it was too big for this pan). A plate or a regular metal lid smaller in diameter than the pan’s opening will do as shown here.

After coming to a boil, simmer for 10-15 minutes. For seasoning, I add 3 tbs of mirin and 2-3 tbs of soy sauce (for 200ml of dashi). I add soy sauce in two increments, tasting each time, to adjust the seasoning. Addition of soy sauce just before completing cooking gives fresh soy sauce flavor as well. If you are having this dish with sake, I use less soy sauce and for rice condiments, I use more soy sauce. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes and cut the flame and let it cool in the broth. I garnished with snow peas blanched, shocked in cold water and then julienned.

“Kiriboshi” daikon and celery in vinegar dressing 切り干し大根のハリハリ

This is another classic way of using this ingredients. “Harihari” is a Japanese word to indicate “crunchy”.  Beside dried daikon, this dish usually calls for julienned cucumber. While I was making this, all the mini-cucumbers I had (although I bought them just few days ago) had brownish discoloration around the seeds and did not taste right (This appears not to be the usual brand I get. It said “seed-less” but it definitely had seeds). So after cutting all 5 cucumbers, I had to discard all of them.  Without cucumbers, I rummaged in the refrigerator and found celery. 

After re-hydration, I squeezed out the excess water and put the “kiriboshi daikon” in the bowl. I sliced a celery stalk diagonally and thinly. I mixed a small amount of Chinese red pepper paste “Toubanjan” 豆板醤 (1/5 tsp), sushi vinegar (3 parts)  and mirin (1 part) and dressed.

The kiribishi daikon definitely has a crunch as name “harihari” indicates. It is a very simple (especially if you have a cucumber) and refreshing dish. Even with substituting with celery, it was not so bad.

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