RECIPE: Nibitashi (Fried/Simmered Vegetables)

RECIPE: Nibitashi (Fried/Simmered Vegetables)

A great way to enjoy summer vegetables, this recipe combines dashi, soy sauce and mirin to create an umami rich sauce for dipping that will also enhance the flavors of the vegetables over time. Feel free to use any fresh seasonal vegetables you have available!

Servings: 2-3

Ingredients

  • 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) 
  • 100g pumpkin (remove seeds and cut into 6-7mm wide slices)
  • 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)
  • Deep-frying oil as needed

For the sauce

  • 300ml dashi broth (you can use a konbu and bonito dashi, or just a konbu dashi if you prefer a vegan alternative)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 tbsp mirin

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce.
  2. Heat the oil to 170-180°C and deep-fry the vegetables for 2-3 mins for pumpkin and about 1 min for the other vegetables. (Be careful not to put too many vegetables in the oil at once, and to keep the oil temperature from dropping too low, it is best to fry the vegetables in three or four batches.)
  3. When all the vegetables are fried, dip them in the sauce from step 1 while they are still hot. You can also soak the vegetables in the sauce for 2-4 hours 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.

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