I bought atsu-age 厚揚げ at our Japanese grocery store one weekend thinking I would either add it to oden おでん or just grill it in the toaster oven but neither happened. I realized “the best tasted before date” was a few day AGO. So, instead of grilling, I switched to “emergency mode” and quickly made this dish which is like oden but has only a few items.
Again, I made this with what I had on hand. I had half a nagaimo 長芋 in the refrigerator left over from when I made yamakake 山かけ more than a week ago. I also had some nice thick shiitake mushrooms which I also bought at the Japanese grocery store sometime ago that needed to be used.
So this is the dish I came up with.
Broth: I made broth from dashi pack (dried bonito and kelp), added sake, mirin, light colored soy sauce. I supplemented the soy sauce with salt added in increments as I tasted. I used the salt because I did not want the nagaimo to become too dark as it would have if I used all soy sauce but I also wanted properly seasoned simmering broth. (I ended up using about 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt).
Atsu-age: I placed them in a colander and poured hot water over them (from the instant hot water dispenser which is connected to Culligan reverse-ososis filtering system) to remove excess oil. I then cut them in half.
Nagaimo: I peeled and cut into 1 inch-thick rounds and then halved them. I immediately soaked in water with a splash of rice vinegar.
Shiitake mushrooms: I removed the stems and cut into half inch slices (this was rather large and thick shiitake, possibly from Japan).
I placed the nama-age, nagaimo and shiitke in the broth and gently simmered it for 40-50 minutes. I served it in a bowl with a bit of the simmering broth and garnished it with chopped scallion.
This was a good combination. When cooked, the nagaimo looses it’s sliminess and has a nice crunchy texture. This was perfect for cold sake.