DAMAKO-NABE (Akita-Style Rice Cake and Chicken Hot Pot)

Recipes with Mirin
This article can be read in about 5 minutes.

Damoko Nabe is a Hot pot from snowy Akita prefecture, which is one of the most famous rice producers in Japan. In the winter, this soothing and warming dish is prepared using ball-shaped rice cakes called Damako-mochi made from local rice and enjoyed with family. The umami from the chicken, burdock and variety of mushrooms is soaked up in the rice cake balls, making them heavenly delicious. The herbal aroma of Seri gives the dish a refreshing twist. This is something you will definitely crave for every winter.

500g Freshly cooked Japanese rice
2 heap tsp Katakuriko or corn starch
500g Chicken thigh
100g Shimeji mushroom
100g Maitake mushroom
100g Nametake mushroom
300g Burdock root
200g Seri (Japanese Water dropwort) *Substitute watercress
2 Green onions
1600ml Chicken stock
4 Tbsp Soy sauce
3 Tbsp Mirin
3 Tbsp Sake

1. To prepare the base stock, add 1600ml of water and the drumettes in a pot and simmer slowly for 2~3 hours, occasionally adding water to keep the water amount.

2. Meanwhile, put the freshly cooked rice and Katakuriko in a bowl and smash it using a pestle or rolling pin until it gets doughy but 50% of the grains remain their shapes. This state is called *Hangoroshi”, which literally means half dead.

3. Wet your hands and shape the dough into ping-pong-ball-sized rounds. Lightly toast them in a non-stick pan or on a mesh grill with direct fire. This adds beautiful nuttiness.

4. Wash the burdock root well to remove the dirt on surface. Scrape off the skin using the back of a knife and cut off the blackened ends. Make a few cuts lengthwise and shave off the burdock into water, which prevents the burdock from changing colour and help remove scum, using the tip of a knife, just like you sharpen a pencil. This technique is called “Sasagaki” and the burdock will cook faster, releasing maximum flavour.

5. Cut off the hard bottom ends of the mushrooms and tear them to separate. Bias cut the green onion. Cut the chicken thigh into bite-size pieces. Wash the Seri well and cut into thirds. Make sure to keep the roots as they are also eaten.

6. Transfer the base stock and the drumettes you prepared earlier to a Japanese a clay pot or any pot suitable for Nabe. Add the mirin and soy sauce. Add the ingredients as much as they can fit in (the remaining goes for the next batch).

7. Place a portable stove in the middle of a table and put on the pot with a lid on. Simmer for a few minutes until all the ingredients are cooked. Turn down the heat to the lowest.


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