Easy, healthy, and vegan! Nibitashi is a great way to enjoy seasonal greens. Nibitashi is a cooking technique that involves braising vegetables in a sweet and savory Japanese seasoning mixture. This umami-rich mixture consists of dashi broth, soy sauce, and mirin to give your dish extra savory, sweet, and umami flavor. This sauce will enhance the natural flavors of your vegetables to make them even more juicy and delicious.
For this recipe, simply combine the sauce ingredients. Then, chop your vegetables, deep fry them, and dip them in the seasoning sauce before serving. This cooking technique is both easy and makes your vegetables saucy and crispy.
Different ways to enjoy nibitashi vegetables:
You can use this nibitashi technique to enjoy your vegetables in many ways. This a popular method of preparing eggplants in Japan, but you can easily substitute in your favourite seasonal vegetables. Some examples are enoki mushrooms, pumpkin, and zucchini.
If you’d like, you can prepare the dish beforehand and let the vegetables rest in the sauce for a few hours and up to 3 days. This is great if you’re busy or want deeper flavor. Enjoy the vegetables on their own, as garnish, a side dish, or you can serve them on top of a bowl of rice to make a vegetable donburi. This method is also used to make agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu), by first covering the tofu in potato starch before deep-frying it. Try our recipe here.
What is dashi?
Dashi is a Japanese broth made from natural ingredients that are full of umami flavor. You can use dashi to give soups and sauces savouriness and earthy, smoky depth. Dashi is typically made from katsuobushi or bonito flakes (dried skipjack tuna), shiitake mushrooms, and konbu (kelp). These umami-rich ingredients create the compounded sweet, savory, roasted, and earthy flavors that are so important for Japanese cuisine!
- 100g pumpkin (remove seeds and cut into 6-7mm wide slices)
- 1 Japanese eggplant (cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 4-6 pieces and soak in water. Pat dry before using)
- 3-4 okra (remove the stems)
- 2-3 asparagus (remove the hard root, peel off 3-4 cm of the skin from the root side with a peeler, and cut into 3-4 equal length pieces)
- 1 small zucchini (remove ends and cut into 1cm round pieces)
- 1 small red bell pepper (or 1/3 of a regular-sized bell pepper) (remove the stems and seeds and cut into 6-7mm pieces)
- 2-3 sweet chili peppers (cut into 1cm strips)
- Oil for frying
For the sauce
- To make the sauce, place the dashi packet in 300ml of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 1-2 mins and add the soy sauce and mirin.
- Separately, pan fry the vegetables in a bit of oil until cooked and golden brown.
- When all the vegetables are cooked, dip them in the sauce from step 1 while still hot. You can also soak the vegetables in the sauce for 2-4 hrs in the fridge if you prefer to eat them cold. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Note: The total amount of vegetables for the sauce is about 500-600g. In addition to the vegetables listed above, burdock, green beans, green peppers, and shishito peppers are also recommended.
*Available for single item purchase at ourMarket: Michi no Eki
Introduction courtesy of Tiffany Furukawa
Tiffany spent her childhood exploring Japanese food in the suburbs of Tokyo and helping her Obaachan (grandmother) in the kitchen. These experiences nurtured her passion for food and she is now studying environmental sustainability and food sciences at university. In her free time, Tiffany loves discovering hidden restaurants in Japan, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, and going on runs!